European Parliament ACTA Resolution Passes Overwhelmingly, Threatens Possible Court Action

The European Parliament today overwhelming approved a resolution on ACTA calling for transparency and raising concerns about substantive elements in the treaty such as the prospect of three strikes and personal border searches.  The final vote was 633 in favour, 13 against, and 16 abstentions.  The final approved text raises further issues:

  • the European Parliament "deplores the calculated choice of the parties not to negotiate through well-established international bodies, such as WIPO and WTO, which have established frameworks for public information and consultation"
  • It says "further ACTA negotiations should include a larger number of developing and emerging countries, with a view to reaching a possible multilateral level of negotiation"
  • provides that "any agreement must include the stipulation that the closing-off of an individual’s Internet access shall be subject to prior examination by a court"
  • warns that "ACTA provisions, notably measures aimed at strengthening powers for cross-border inspection and seizure of goods, should not affect global access to legitimate, affordable and safe medicinal products – including innovative and generic products – on the pretext of combating counterfeiting"

As for next steps, the European Parliament clearly wants action as the resolution also states that it "stresses that, unless Parliament is immediately and fully informed at all stages of the negotiations, it reserves its right to take suitable action, including bringing a case before the Court of Justice in order to safeguard its prerogatives."   This marks a major step toward ACTA transparency, highlighting the near-unanimous discomfort with the process and substance of ACTA to date.


  1. Heading in the right direction…

  2. Why are we not getting the near-unanimous discomfort with the process and substance of ACTA in Canada if we support transparency? Why after 2 years is the EU spear heading this? Canadians used to stand tall on the global stage with respect to our Democratic rights, what happened? Oh yeah, forgot the conservative movement the majority of Canadians don’t support in Canada. That might explain it.

  3. At least this weakens the “meet our international obligations” nonsense.
    They could have pulled the policy laundering trick off if they managed perfect secrecy. Each of us should give an ounce of gratitude for the individuals who dared to bring this into the light.

  4. Laurel L. Russwurm says:

    Go Europe!
    I must say that I like the line:

    “on the pretext of combating counterfeiting”

    You have to wonder though… isn’t the UK (with their Digital Economy Bill) part of the EU?

    And isn’t CETA … the Canada-Europe Trade Agreement… advocating many of the same things as ACTA?

    So, great, but taken with a grain of salt.

  5. Potentially crippling to ACTA
    Given the secrecy around ACTA negotiations it would not surprise me if many of the participants (specifically industry lobbyist) would rather walk away than have their involvement and positions made public.

  6. Who’s in charge?
    OK, I’m a little confused … if the EU representatives on the ACTA negotiations are not sharing the details of said negotiations without threat of being sued by the the EU parliament. The who exactly is running this dog & pony show?

  7. I ‘m not so sure that the ACTA negotiations can survive in the light of day and the scrutiny of John Q. Public.
    Daylight will surely kill the vampires.
    I don’t see it as “a major step towards ACTA transparency”, I see it as a torpedo to the bow.
    It will be interesting to see how it goes down.

  8. great news!
    But I’m not holding a celebration until we get some sort of Canadian equivilent, instead of the sick suspicion that the Harper government is just waiting to jump at the chance to sneak conservative policy into law without having to fight it past a minority parliament.
    (I can maintain hope that the whole thing will implode if the EU somehow manages to force public disclosure, but not holding my breath on that one)

  9. @Jon
    Yes, even if it falls apart, I would be dissapointed if our government doesn’t speak up for us. It may already be late, but common guys, take this chance to show that Canada believes in democracy too!