Amendment 138: European Parliament cannot give up citizens' freedoms

Strasbourg, October 19th 2009 - European Consumers unions and Internet service providers join La Quadrature du Net and numerous NGOs to urge the European Parliament not to give up the fundamental rights of EU citizens. The ongoing conciliation phase of the Telecoms Package will give the Parliament an opportunity to stand once again against arbitrary restrictions of Internet access. La Quadrature publishes a new memo explaining how the Parliament can and must resist the Council of the EU and reaffirm its commitment towards protecting citizens.

The BEUC1 sent an open letter2 calling the conciliation committee on the Telecoms Package to maintain the current amendment 138. Directly criticizing “three strikes” schemes, the BEUC explains that only the judiciary can ensure that people's right to a fair trial, but also that the right to information, privacy and the freedom of expression, are respected. They are joined by EuroISPA3 who states in a press release4 that the EU is legitimate in imposing Member States to respect the principle entailed by amendment 138. Otherwise, says the trade group, “there is considerable risk of varying and arbitrary implementation, the result of which would damage both citizens' rights and single market”.

In the next few days, the Parliament and its negotiators will have to resist the pressure of the Council of the EU and refuse its dangerous proposal. They have the legal and the political margin of maneuver to do so. As La Quadrature explains in a new memo5 sent to all the members of the Parliament delegation, there are compelling legal arguments in favor of such a position.

"The Parliament is the only European institution that is democratically elected. Stepping back on an amendment adopted on two occasions by an 88% majority of its Members would send a dreadful signal to European citizens, as if defending them was only important before the elections but not afterwards. The Parliament's legitimacy is at stake. During the negotiations, the Parliament will now be able to take advantage of the massive support of the European civil society." concludes Jérémie Zimmermann, spokesperson for La Quadrature du Net.