Telecoms Package passed by "confused" MEPs
The two European Parliament committees voting on the crucial copyright amendments have both approved them. The vote was last night (7th July 2008). This means that the Parliament has voted for a the legal framework to restrict access to the Internet, and to underpin riposte graduee measures similar to the ones being implemented in France. With 809 amendments, and the copyright matters inserted with subtle phrases peppered throughout the text, it was difficult for anyone to understand what they were actually voting on. Reports from Strasbourg say that MEPs were confused and right up to the last minute, did not know what they were voting for.
The committee vote is the first of a two-stage voting process in the European Parliament. The second stage is the plenary vote, however, the plenary usually follows the committee vote.
The only way things can change now, is if MEPs take action to do something for the plenary session. This is scheduled for 2nd September, but reports from last night suggest that there are requests for the plenary vote to be re-sheduled to give more time. Certainly, the French Presidency's stated desire to get the Telecoms Package approved in council by November is much too fast.
This legislation is complicated, it has serious democratic implications, and it needs time for proper debate and public consultation.