MEPs Marietje Schaake and Sophie in ‘t Veld (D66/ALDE) are pleased that a majority of the European Parliament voted against the controversial ACTA-treaty today. “After fighting a long battle against this treaty, today’s vote marks a victory for democracy and digital freedoms”, said Schaake.
In recent months, millions of Europeans made their voices heard against ACTA. Schaake: “Online but also on the streets, we saw a movement of millions of Europeans sharing their concerns about ACTA. After this vote it is now the time to look beyond ACTA. We must work towards reform of copyright law and completion of the European digital single market.”
No more excuses
In the run up to the last Parliament-wide vote on ACTA five parliamentary committees already voted against the treaty. Yet until the last minute there was uncertainty. The Christian Democratic EPP Group proposed that the vote be postponed until after the judgment of the ECJ. Such a decision would mean an extra and unnecessary delay. “It is good that Parliament has now taken its responsibility. The European Commission has no more excuses to hide behind, Europe simply cannot participate in ACTA”, Schaake said.
Sophie in ‘t Veld criticizes the lack of transparency in the formation of the treaty. Since 2008 she has been fighting a battle to get hold of the trade agreement’s negotiating documents. Because the European Commission refuses to disclose substantive information, the MEP went to court. She filed a law suit as a private person, but recently received backing from the European Parliament that has rallied behind the politician. In ‘t Veld: “ACTA may be off the table, but my fight for transparency in the drafting of such agreements continues. Citizens have the right to know what is decided and on the basis of what information these decisions are made.”
As we close the ACTA chapter we must now focus on reforming copyright management and completing the European digital single market. Schaake: “In any future enforcement or trade treaties we need sector specific approaches to counterfeiting and must differentiate between tangible goods and digital content. In this reform process different stakeholders should be part of an inclusive, transparent and democratic decision making process. In doing so fundamental rights should be respected. “Effective enforcement of intellectual property rights that in practice would mean a large-scale breach of privacy should end up in the trash straight away”, In ‘t Veld adds.