A cross-party group of MEPs will now ask for ACTA information in full plenary session.
The European Parliament continues to press the Council and the Commission for information on the (Anti-counterfeiting trade agreement) ACTA negotiations. The latest attempt seeks to corner the Commission on matters of protocol between the two institutions.
It takes the form of an oral question which will open up a debate in the plenary session of the European Parliament on Tuesday 9 March.
The question is addressed to theCommission. It is multi-part, and most of the elements address formal processes which the Commission should follow, such as carrying out an impact assessment (a legal requirement for all new policies) and granting the Parliament access to the texts on which it is negotiating.
However, as we have seen already, the Commission has been a little lax with the supply of ACTA information. Flushing out the scale of the omissions, could be the intention of the question.
It also asks a really tricky question concerning the ACTA Internet provisions: How will the Commission ensure that enforcement of ACTA internet provisions are fully in line with the acquis and how will it redress any incompatibilities?
In other words, what changes are required to EU law and where does ACTA step outside the acquis communitaire?
The ACTA question is put by a cross-party group of MEPs from right to left of the political spectrum, even including the powerful EPP and the British Conservatives. The MEPS are Carl Schlyter, (Green), Daniel Caspary, (EPP) Kader Arif, S&D, Niccolò Rinaldi, ALDE, Helmut Scholz, (GUE/NGL), Syed Kamall, (ECR).
I wonder whether the Commission will ‘borrow' at all from the recent answer on ACTA by the USTR , which is negotiating for the United States, in response to a similar line of questionning from the US Senate.
Here is the text of the European Parliament oral question on ACTA:
Parliamentary questions 24 February 2010
ORAL QUESTION WITH DEBATE pursuant to Rule 115 of the Rules of Procedure by Carl Schlyter, on behalf of the Verts/ALE Group, Daniel Caspary, on behalf of the PPE Group, Kader Arif, on behalf of the S&D Group, Niccolò Rinaldi, on behalf of the ALDE Group, Helmut Scholz, on behalf of the GUE/NGL Group, Syed Kamall, on behalf of the ECR Group to the Commission
Subject: Transparency and state of play of the ACTA negotiations (Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement)
Parliament has on various occasions called on the Commission and Council to ensure the widest possible access to ACTA documents, notably in its reports of 18 Dec 2008 (Susta Report, P6_TA(2008)0634, paragraphs 14, 28) and 11 March 2009 (Cashman Report, P6_TA(2009)0114), paragraph 26 of which reads: ‘The Commission should immediately make all documents related to the ongoing international negotiations on the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) publicly available'.
In its Resolution of 9 February 2010 on a Framework Agreement with the Commission (P7_TA(2009)0009) Parliament demands immediate and full information at every stage of negotiations on international agreements, in particular on trade matters and other negotiations involving the consent procedure, to give full effect to Article 218 TFEU. On 27 January 2010 the Commission gave assurances of its commitment to a reinforced association with Parliament in the terms of this resolution.
When will the Commission grant Parliament access to all primary texts relating to ACTA, in particular the ACTA negotiation mandate by the Council, the minutes of ACTA negotiation meetings, the draft chapters of ACTA, and the comments of ACTA participants on the draft chapters?
Has the Commission carried out an impact assessment of the effect of ACTA's implementation on e-trade in the EU and worldwide? How will the Commission ensure that enforcement of ACTA internet provisions are fully in line with the acquis and how will it redress any incompatibilities?
Does the Commission agree that access to ACTA documents should be given to Parliament before the new Framework Agreement comes into effect?
This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial-Share Alike 2.5 UK:England and Wales License. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/uk/ 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) EU Parliament steps up requests for ACTA, http://www.iptegrity.com 4 March 2010