European parliament: ACTA to get the axe
1 June 2012
Libération, Les Echos
“Is ACTA soon for the sack?” wonders Libération, noting that “support for the highly controversial Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement continues to wane”. On 31 May, large majorities in three European Parliament committees – Civil liberties, Industry and Legal Affairs – voted to reject the text.
Having explained that the vote “is not binding,” Les Echos remarks “that it nonetheless speaks volumes on the apparent shift in the power struggle over a text, which has prompted growing opposition and criticism of its incompatibility with civil liberties in parliament”. The business daily recalls that in recent months ACTA’s “highly controversial measures with regard to the Internet brought thousands of young people out on the streets in demonstrations across Europe.”
As it stands, 22 of the EU’s 27 member states have signed the accord to protect patents and brands, covering a vast range of sectors including generic medicines, crop seeds, culture and on-line downloading. But opposition to the text is growing. On 29 May, MPs in the Netherlands petitioned the Dutch government not to ratify the accord in its current form. Libération reports that last week, the Romanian Prime Minister announced the suspension of the ratification process, and requested that the European Parliament provide guarantees on respect for privacy in the implementation of the agreement. Europe’s citizens will have to wait for a vote in July’s plenary session of parliament for more conclusive news of the fate in store for ACTA.