Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement
ALDE group will vote against ACTA
By Manon Malhère | Wednesday 25 April 2012
The Group of Liberals and Democrats (ALDE) in the European Parliament will vote against the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), announced its leader, Belgian national Guy Verhofstadt, on 24 April. The group thus joins the camp of the Greens-EFA, EUL-NGL and S&D groups, which have already announced their intention to vote against the agreement. Also on 24 April, the EPP group – which has not yet adopted a stance – called on the European Commission and member states to provide legal certainties.
“ACTA does not guarantee any particular balance” between fundamental rights and intellectual property and contains “too many provisions that still lack clarity”. The “ALDE therefore cannot support ACTA,” said Verhofstadt. The group proposes an alternative to protect intellectual property rights, a “differentiated” approach. It consists of not using a single text for all sectors covered by intellectual property rights (products, services, etc). On the contrary, “we see the need for separate agreements by sector, after a public, democratic and comprehensive debate plus an impact assessment”.
The EPP’s shadow rapporteur, Christofer Fjellner (Sweden), called on member states and above all the European Commission to provide “legal certainties” before the group decides to support the agreement. He did not disclose the group’s position. “The main difference [between our group] and the others is that we do not want to derail ACTA,” said Daniel Caspary (EPP, Germany).
The vote in the EP’s Committee on International Trade (INTA) is expected to take place in May or June. Parliament will vote in plenary in June or July.