The European Parliament rejected today, the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA). European Liberals and Democrats played a key role in this decisive vote which should give a fatal blow to the EU ratification process.
ALDE Press release, 04.07.2012 Guy Verhofstadt, President of the ALDE group, said: "ACTA has raised numerous concerns in civil society and even those who, like us, are in favor of intellectual property rights were at a loss to find arguments to defend the agreement. The agreement in particular suffers from the fact that the major counterfeiters are not signatories. The right to intellectual property deserves a more thorough treatment and that is why the Commission should reconsider its approach. " Niccolo Rinaldi (IdV,Italy), ALDE spokesman on counterfeiting within the International Trade Committee, added: "There are two lessons to be learned. First, out of the debate on ACTA a true network of citizens has emerged and it is a space of personal freedom which cannot be restricted. The other lesson is that we cannot pursue a policy without the support of citizens. The ACTA tragi-comedy is over and this is a good outcome for citizens, for internet freedom, and for the European institutions". Marietje SCHAAKE (D66,Netherlands), ALDE spokesperson for digital freedom in the world within the International Trade and the Foreign Affairs Committees, continued: "Today marks a victory for European democracy and for digital freedoms. As we close the ACTA chapter we must now focus on reforming copyright management and completing the European digital single market. In any future enforcement of 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."