European Parliament strongly opposes ACTA's democratic deficit

Strasbourg, March 10th, 2010 - The European Parliament massively approved a common resolution1 opposing the current negotiation process regarding the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA). This resolution2 is an important call for transparency and the respect of democratic processes. In the coming weeks, the Parliament will have the opportunity to further address the actual content of the negotiated text through the written declaration 12/20103.

The resolution, supported by the five major political groups of the European Parliament urges the Commission to establish transparency on the ACTA by releasing negotiation documents. It strongly asserts the role of the Parliament in the EU interinstitutional framework and makes a bold statement, saying that the Parliament will not hesitate to call on the European Court of Justice to defend its co-legislator powers.

The Parliament's opposition to ACTA is also expressed in a proposed written declaration4 that takes issue with the actual content of the current draft ACTA. The written declaration 12/20105 directly adresses the fundamental problems of ACTA, such as the possible change of the legal liability regime of Internet intermediaries. The latter would radically harm Net neutrality and civil liberties by turning Internet service providers into a private police and justice auxiliaries to enforce copyright. The declaration also questions the proposed measures for civil and criminal enforcement of patents that would severely hinder access to knowledge and medicine across the world.

"The vote of the resolution by 633 MEPs against 13 is a striking political signal for EU negotiators and Member States. The European Parliament almost unanimously states that it won't tolerate ACTA's untransparent negotiation process. This resolution is an important first step, and the Parliament now has the opportunity to set clear red lines to the EU negotiators with the written declaration 12/2010. Building on this milestone towards democratic transparency, citizens must urge MEPs to sign the written declaration in order to oppose measures in ACTA that endanger the open nature of the Internet", concludes Jérémie Zimmermann, spokesperson for citizen advocacy group La Quadrature du Net.