EP to decide on ACTA
By Manon Malhère | Tuesday 27 March 2012
The European Parliament will not ask the EU Court of Justice for an opinion on whether the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) is in line with EU law. The members of the Committee on International Trade (INTA) decided this after a last minute vote, on 27 March. Above all, they want to accelerate the process: the agreement should be approved or rejected by Parliament before the summer.
“The rapporteur, David Martin [S&D, UK] will present a draft report, on 26 April. After that, we will shortly have the opportunity to vote in plenary session. The ACTA will probably be buried before the summer,” said Bernd Lange (S&D, Germany). Following the European Commission’s announcement that it was going to refer the dossier to the ECJ, Martin recommended to the EP that it ask for its own opinion. His intention was to “shed some light in order to help the EP members make a decision,” he said. But “the MEPs showed today that they are ready to vote”. Referring the dossier to the ECJ would have made the debate a legal one, when it is a political one, according to MEPs. Indeed, they are strongly opposed to the agreement, which they feel is very restrictive in terms of freedom of expression on the internet. The ACTA was signed by the EU and by 22 member states in late January.