The European Parliament’s INTA Committee yesterday soundly rejected a proposal to refer the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement to the European Court of Justice for review. ACTA critics viewed the proposal as a delay tactic designed with the hope that public opposition to the agreement would subside in the year or two it would take for a court review. The 21-5 vote against the motion means that the INTA committee will conclude its ACTA review later this spring with a full European Parliament vote expected in June or July. The lack of support for ACTA within the European Parliament is now out in the open with multiple parties indicating they will not support the agreement. For example, MEP Bernd Lange stated:
Today’s decision not to ask for legal advice from the Court of Justice is the first sign that this Parliament is ready to reject ACTA. It was a mistake from the beginning to put counterfeit goods and internet content in the same agreement. The European Parliament was not involved in the negotiations and now we are asked to say either yes or no, without the possibility of amending the shortcomings. We cannot support the text as it is. ACTA will probably be buried before the summer.
There were similar comments from other MEPs, who, after being shut out of the ACTA process for years, are now unwilling to delay voting on the agreement within the next few months. I spoke at the INTA Committee workshop on ACTA earlier this month – the sense the European Parliament would reject ACTA was openly discussed then – and my report on the agreement should be released shortly.