Bye Bye ACTA
After months of uncertainty, rumours and opposed positions between the public and the administrations of the Member States, on July 4th the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) was rejected by the European Parliament by an overwhelming majority (478 votes against, 39 in favour and 165 abstained).
This is the first time the Parliament has exercised the power to reject an international trade agreement as per the Lisbon Treaty. This means that neither the EU nor any of its Member States will join the agreement.
The reasons behind this rejection are mainly the uncertainty and ambiguity of its text as well as the potential threat for citizens' liberties that the exercise of the measures contained in ACTA presented. The negotiation of this agreement between the European Union, US, Australia, Canada, Japan, Mexico, Morocco, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea and Switzerland has attracted unprecedented lobbying with millions of citizens' signatures against its adoption.
It is interesting to note that the rejection came before the European Court of Justice had ruled on whether ACTA was compatible with the EU Treaties.
The European Union will now have to work on alternative ways to protect intellectual property, which is a key feature in the growth of the ‘weakened’ economies across Europe.
For more information on the European Parliament click here