ACTA Ratification in Europe To Require Approval from All 27 Member States
Tags: acta / anti-counterfeiting trade agreement / EU
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I have read the European Commission’s proposal for the EU to conclude (ie ratify) the ACTA, and I think this point needs clarifying.
According to the explanatory memorandum to the proposal, the Commission’s view is that the EU’s commercial (trade) policy powers apply here, so the EU’s powers are exclusive as regards the whole treaty, except as regards criminal law.
So EU Member States will have to ratify the treaty as far as the criminal law provisions are concerned, but only as regards those provisions.
As I see it, then, if the EU ratifies ACTA, the non-criminal law parts of the treaty will apply across the whole of the EU as soon as ACTA is in force – and it would only need 5 more signatories to ratify it for that to happen. It wouldn’t matter whether some or all of those signatories were EU Member States (or not).
Of course, EU Member States might dispute the Commission’s analysis, and the issue might be sent to the EU’s Court of Justice (along with other issues about the compatibility of the treaty with EU law) before the EU ratifies.
For the text of the Commission proposal, see: http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=COM:2011:0380:FIN:EN:PDF