For the liberals of the European Parliament, ”the play is over”
Today the president of the ALDE group (liberals) within the European Parliament announced they will vote against ACTA.
Because ACTA does not provide a suitable balance between the protection of IPR and Fundamental Rights, the ALDE, ”champion of fundamental rights and freedom” according to its President Guy Verhofstadt, will vote against.
ALDE reminded that main counterfeiting ”countries” such as China and Russia are not signatory parties, and that the US Congress will not ratify ACTA, to point out the uselessness of the Treaty to fight properly counterfeiting. The group also blamed the European Commission for not having made a deep impact assessment of ACTA including on its compliance with fundamental rights before submitting it to the vote.
The fact that too many different kinds of IP infringements are put together and subject to the same enforcement mechanisms, going from counterfeit handbags, counterfeit medicines, or illegal downloading, is not relevant. ALDE insisted on the need to have a sectoral approach when dealing with IP enforcement that would take into account the different kinds of goods and IP rights, dealt with in separate treaties, within the World Trade Organisation (i.e. for medicines) or bilateral agreements (i.e. for basic consumer goods like Louis Vuitton handbags). The group invited the European Commission to consider this approach in future intiatives.
MEP Niccolò Rinaldi, who is in charge of ACTA within the International Trade committee for the ALDE, pronounced the Latin phrase: ‘ACTA est fabula!’ which means ‘the play is over’. The group will not wait a revision from the EC to vote, actually, no.
ALDE reminded that if ACTA is voted down by the European Parliament, it could still be enforced to minimum 6 ratifying parties. But it would be difficult for EU countries to ratify the treaty if the EU itself votes down…
Let’s see now how united the ALDE group will be behind the ACTA refusal in the different committees, but more importantly in the plenary vote, which should take place by mid-July inStrasbourg.