The EPP Group on ACTA
Technology journalist Jennifer Baker discussed on Thursday the 14th of June the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) (2011/0167(NLE)) with Robert Fitzhenry, spokesperson for the European People’s Party (EPP) Group.
On Tuesday the 19th of June the Committee on Petitions (PETI) will discuss the 2.5 million-signatures petition against the Agreement handed over earlier in February.
The European Parliament’s lead Committee’s, the International Trade (INTA) Committee, vote is scheduled for Thursday the 21st of June, and the Plenary vote should take place on Tuesday the 3rd of July.
While the draft report from UK S&D MEP and Rapporteur David Martin recommends declining the consent to the Agreement, three amendments have been tabled to the draft Report that either seek to grant consent or delay the final vote until the ruling of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU).
On the one hand, the amendments of Swedish EPP MEP and Shadow-Rapporteur Christofer Fjellner and German EPP MEP Godelieve Quisthoudt-Rowohl propose to amend the “declines to consent to conclusion of the agreement” to “consents to conclusion of the agreement”.
Fjellner justifies his view as follows:
“Europe needs an international agreement to step up the fight against counterfeit products. The ACTA agreement provides a useful basis to this fight against counterfeit products and ensures an adequate protection of consumers and companies alike.
On the other hand there is a need for legal clarity regarding certain provisions in the agreement in respect of its digital chapter. It is important that ACTA is not open to any interpretation that would infringe EU law. We need to ensure legal clarity when it comes to internet service providers’ responsibility under ACTA and to add legal clarity as to when Member states could impose criminal enforcement measures on internet users.
Therefore we call on the European Commission and Member States to ensure that ACTA does not open up for any interpretation that would infringe EU law. Such guarantees have to be given before the European Parliament can give its consent to the Agreement.”
On the other hand, UK ECR MEP Syed Kamall proposes to suspend the vote on the Agreement until the CJEU’s opinion.
In the meantime, it seems that the INTA Committee’s Chair, Portugese S&D MEP Vital Moreira, has invited European Commissioner for Trade, Karel De Gucht, to address the Committee before the vote on Thursday the 21st of June.
The European Digital Rights initiative (EDRi) considers that the Agreement, adopted or rejected, “will have a long-lasting effect on Europe” and “hope[s] that ACTA becomes the best thing that ever happened to the European Union”.