EU Supporters Contemplate Rejecting ACTA

Last week we saw the Socialists and Democrats, the second-largest bloc in the European Parliament, turn against the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA). The Rapporteur for ACTA, David Martin MEP (Labour / Scotland), has recommended that the European Parliament should reject the treaty, saying:

“in the end I think the hopes of ACTA are outweighed by the fears; my recommendation is that we reject ACTA”.[1]

Martin’s view was echoed by both the President of the Socialists & Democrats in the European Parliament, Johannes Swoboda (Austria) , and by Sergei Stanishev (Bulgaria), Interim President of the Party of European Socialists, who said:

“The attempt to tackle infringement of intellectual property rights on the internet was done in a very short sighted way. This is a serious subject that needs to be dealt with, however ACTA is not the right place, ACTA is not the right tool and this is not the right way to deal with this issue”. [2]

This makes it practically certain that the left-wing bloc will vote against ratifying ACTA this summer. Combined with the stated position of the Green party, that means ACTA is closer to being thrown out when the vote for ratification takes place in Brussels this summer. The deciding factor is how politicians in the centre-right coalition of Liberals and Conservatives will vote. One of the key centre-right members in the European Parliament, Daniel Caspary (Christian Democrats / Germany), said that the relevant EU committees must be given enough time to make their reports before the final vote, but added, significantly:

“If we reject ACTA, we should tell the European Commission exactly why, and present them with alternative proposals”.

The fact that even the centre-right parties are now seriously thinking about rejecting ACTA, and what to do next, means that while ACTA may not be dead in Europe yet, it is looking increasingly unlikely to make into law.