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Four MEPS have submitted a written declaration to oppose ACTA (Anti-counterfeiting Trade Agreement). If it gets sufficient signatures, it will challenge the European Union's rights to negotiate on this secret treaty which threatens the Internet. 


The 'gang of four' are  Stavros Lambrinidis (Greek, Socialist), Zuzana Roithova (Czech, EPP) , Alexander Alvaro (Germany, Liberal)  and Francoise Castex (France, Socialist).  In a 7-point statement they call for all ACTA documents to be publicly available, and express opposition to liability for content being forced onto ISPs, and further oppose criminal sanctions for IP infringement. 


In order for the Declaration to have any effect, they need to get


the signatures of more than half the Parliament.

 Three of the MEPs have a track record in supporting fundamental rights. Roithova co-tabled Amendment 138 in the Telecoms Package, Lambrinidis wrote the Parliament's positioning report on fundamental freedoms on the Internet, Alvaro was the rapporteur for the data retention directive. 


It will be interesting to see how they succeed in getting the signatures.  This could be as much an institutional statement as one of principle. The Parliament has gained power under the Lisbon Treaty and wants to flex its  muscles. That  could help them to get the signatures they need.  It will be especially interesting to watch what some MEPs do, such as Malcolm Harbour and Sharon Bowles (who incidentally represents the south-east of England).  


Written declaration on the lack of a transparent process and potentially objectionable content concerning the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) The European Parliament, - having regard to Rule 123 of its Rules of Procedure,

A. Whereas the ongoing negotiations concerning the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA).

B. Whereas the co-decision role of the European Parliament in commercial matters and its access to negotiation documents guaranteed by the Lisbon Treaty,

1. Considers that the proposed agreement should not indirectly impose harmonisation of EU copyright, patent or trademark law. The principle of subsidiarity should be respected,

2. Declares that the Commission should immediately make all documents related to the ongoing negotiations publicly available.

3. Takes the view that the proposed agreement should not force limitations upon judicial due process nor weaken fundamental rights such as freedom of expression and the right to privacy.

4. Stresses that the evaluation of economic and innovation risks must take place prior to introducing criminal sanctions where civil measures are already in place.

5. Considers that Internet service providers should not bear liability for the data they transmit or host through their services to an extent that would imply prior surveillance or filtering of such data.

6. Points out that any measure aimed at strengthening powers for cross-border inspection and seizures of goods should not harm global access to legal, affordable and safe medicines.

7. Instructs its President to forward this declaration, together with the names of the signatories, to the Commission, the Council and the parliaments of the Member States.


See the announcement on the La Quadrature du Net website. 


This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial-Share Alike 2.5 UK:England and Wales License. It may be used for non-commercial purposes only, and the author's name should be attributed. The correct attribution for this article is: Monica Horten (2010)European Parliament ACTA Declaration 24  February 2010  


Iptegrity in brief is the website of Dr Monica Horten. I’ve been analysing analysing digital policy since 2008. Way back then, I identified how issues around rights can influence Internet policy, and that has been a thread throughout all of my research. I hold a PhD in EU Communications Policy from the University of Westminster (2010), and a Post-graduate diploma in marketing.   I’ve served as an independent expert on the Council of Europe  Committee on Internet Freedoms, and was involved in a capacity building project in Moldova, Georgia, and Ukraine. I am currently (from June 2022)  Policy Manager - Freedom of Expression, with the Open Rights Group. For more, see About Iptegrity is made available free of charge for  non-commercial use, Please link-back & attribute Monica Horten. Thank you for respecting this.

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