The European Commission has now received a formal request to make public the ACTA negotiations and documents. A narrow majority for a key demand by the Liberals and the Greens, means it is taking a strong stand.
** Updated 11 March: I have now included below the text from the official consolidated version **
The European Parliament's resolution on ACTA (Anti-counterfeiting Trade Agreement) was carried today with a massive majority of 633 votes in favour, to 13 against. Political agreement on the motion had - mostly - been assured before the vote. There were however, some exceptions, and a series of amendments was voted individually and by roll call.
As I reported yesterday, there was an internal battle over the Resolution between the smaller Party groups and the larger Conservative factions. The smaller groups wanted a stronger call for transparency, whereas the EPP/ECR version was little more than a slapped wrist for the Commission. From what I can make out, an amendment by the Greens and the ALDE (Liberal and Liberal Democrat) groups, will turn it into a strong stand against
the Commission and the Council. It was carried by 331 in favour, to 326 against. An amendment by the Left group, which opposed asking the Commission to continue with the negotiations, was rejected.
The other amendments were all carried, including an oral amendment by Tokia Saifi, which I did not quite catch, but it did include the words ‘pour lutter contre la contrefacon' (Amended 11 March - this is Point 13 below).
The Green Resolution stated:
Calls on the Commission to 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;
The ALDE (Liberals and Liberal Democrats)Resolution states:
Deplores the calculated choice of the parties not to negotiate through well-established international bodies, such as the WIPO and WTO, which have established frameworks for public information and consultation;
5. Deplores the fact that so far only industrialised countries are taking part in the ACTA negotiations, and considers that those negotiations should be more inclusive, and multilateral rather than just plurilateral; calls on the Commission to include developing countries in all trade negotiations that may have an impact on them;
6. Calls on the Commission and the Council to grant it access to all primary texts relating to ACTA, in particular the ACTA negotiating mandate issued by the Council, the minutes of ACTA negotiation meetings, the draft chapters of ACTA, and the comments of ACTA participants on the draft chapters;
The joint draft with the EPP and ECR stated: (Updated 11 March: this is the version which was voted)
Calls on the Commission and the Council to engage proactively with ACTA negotiation partners to rule out any further negotiations which are confidential as a matter of course and to inform Parliament fully and in a timely manner about its initiatives in this regard; expects the Commission to make proposals prior to the next negotiation round in New Zealand in April 2010, to demand that the issue of transparency is put on the agenda of that meeting and to refer the outcome of the negotiation round to Parliament immediately following its conclusion;
La Quadrature du Net have issued a statement saying that this shows how the strongly the European Parliament opposes the democratic deficit in ACTA.
Read the Joint Motion for a Resolution on ACTA , with all variants
The official consolidated version of the Joint Motion for a Resolution on ACTA:
1. Points out that since 1 December 2009 the Commission has had a legal obligation to inform Parliament immediately and fully at all stages of international negotiations;
2. Expresses its concern over the lack of a transparent process in the conduct of the ACTA negotiations, a state of affairs at odds with the letter and spirit of the TFEU; is deeply concerned that no legal base was established before the start of the ACTA negotiations and that parliamentary approval for the negotiating mandate was not sought;
3. Calls on the Commission and the Council to grant public and parliamentary access to ACTA negotiation texts and summaries, in accordance with the Treaty and with Regulation 1049/2001 of 30 May 2001 regarding public access to European Parliament, Council and Commission documents;
4. Calls on the Commission and the Council to engage proactively with ACTA negotiation partners to rule out any further negotiations which are confidential as a matter of course and to inform Parliament fully and in a timely manner about its initiatives in this regard; expects the Commission to make proposals prior to the next negotiation round in New Zealand in April 2010, to demand that the issue of transparency is put on the agenda of that meeting and to refer the outcome of the negotiation round to Parliament immediately following its conclusion;
5. Stresses that, unless Parliament is immediately and fully informed at all stages of the negotiations, it reserves its right to take suitable action, including bringing a case before the Court of Justice in order to safeguard its prerogatives;
6. Deplores the calculated choice of the parties not to negotiate through well-established international bodies, such as WIPO and WTO, which have established frameworks for public information and consultation;
7. Calls on the Commission to conduct an impact assessment of the implementation of ACTA with regard to fundamental rights and data protection, ongoing EU efforts to harmonise IPR enforcement measures, and e-commerce, prior to any EU agreement on a consolidated ACTA treaty text, and to consult with Parliament in a timely manner about the results of the assessment;
8. Welcomes affirmations by the Commission that any ACTA agreement will be limited to the enforcement of existing IPRs, with no prejudice for the development of substantive IP law in the European Union;
9. Calls on the Commission to continue the negotiations on ACTA and limit them to the existing European IPR enforcement system against counterfeiting; considers that further ACTA negotiations should include a larger number of developing and emerging countries, with a view to reaching a possible multilateral level of negotiation;
10. Urges the Commission to ensure that the enforcement of ACTA provisions – especially those on copyright enforcement procedures in the digital environment – are fully in line with the acquis communautaire ; demands that no personal searches will be conducted at EU borders and requests full clarification of any clauses that would allow for warrantless searches and confiscation of information storage devices such as laptops, cell phones and MP3 players by border and customs authorities;
11. Considers that in order to respect fundamental rights, such as the right to freedom of expression and the right to privacy, while fully observing the principle of subsidiarity, the proposed agreement should not make it possible for any so-called "three-strikes" procedures to be imposed, in full accordance with Parliament's decision on Article 1.1b in the (amending) Directive 2009/140/EC calling for the insertion of a new paragraph 3(a) in Article 1 of Directive 2002/21/EC on the matter of the "three strikes" policy; considers that any agreement must include the stipulation that the closing-off of an individual's Internet access shall be subject to prior examination by a court;
12. Emphasises that privacy and data protection are core values of the European Union, recognised in Article 8 ECHR and Articles 7 and 8 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, which must be respected in all the policies and rules adopted by the EU pursuant to Article 16 of the TFEU;
13. Points out that ACTA provisions, notably measures aimed at strengthening powers for cross-border inspection and seizure of goods, should not affect global access to legitimate, affordable and safe medicinal products – including innovative and generic products – on the pretext of combating counterfeiting;
14. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission and the governments and parliaments of the states party to the ACTA negotiations.
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) European Parliament ACTA vote carried http://www.iptegrity.com 10 March 2010