Fifth EU Committee Recommends Rejection Of ACTA By European Parliament

from the how-many-times-do-we-have-to-say-no? dept

Another major milestone has been achieved in the push to get ACTA rejected by the EU: a fifth parliamentary committee has recommended that the European Parliament should refuse to ratify it when it is put to the vote on July 4th, effectively killing it in Europe. The other committees – on legal affairs, civil liberties, industry and international development – recommended rejection a few weeks ago, but today's vote by the international trade committee (INTA) was seen as the most important.

That was reflected during the vote. For example, the hall in which the meeting was held was unusually full, with a large contingent from the press. Unexpectedly, an EU politician who is not aligned with the main groupings turned up to vote, adding to the uncertainty about the final result.

The main INTA report recommended that the European Parliament should reject ACTA, but three amendments were tabled: two to accept ACTA immediately, and one to recommend waiting until after the European Court of Justice had handed down its judgment -- something not expected for a year or two.

At the last minute, the first two amendments were withdrawn, leaving only the call for a postponement of the European Parliament vote. This was rejected by the committee; but then somebody pointed out that there were more votes than people -- a problem EU committees have had before. This meant that that the vote had to be taken again, adding to the already-high tension in the meeting, to confirm that the amendment was indeed being rejected.

Finally, the INTA committee voted on the report containing the recommendation to reject ACTA, and passed it by 19 votes to 12. That was a wider margin than expected, but isn't necessarily representative of what will happen in the plenary vote in July. The European Commission will be making one last effort to convince EU politicians to vote for ACTA, and lobbyists will doubtless be out in strength during the next two weeks.

Gaining the support of five EU committees out of five is an extraordinary achievement -- six months ago, most commentators expected ACTA to sail through the European ratification process without much trouble. European politicians themselves have said that this change of heart is entirely due to the massive wave of protests against ACTA, both on the streets and in the form of thousands of emails and phone calls.

Although the battle is not over yet, it will be hugely significant if such citizen action does succeed in stopping ACTA, since it would send a message to politicians that the views of the public cannot be ignored when it comes to such major policy decisions about the Internet. In this respect, it would complement the similar revolt over SOPA and PIPA in the US -- something that made the current string of European victories against ACTA possible.

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Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    J, Jun 21st, 2012 @ 8:20am

    Do we have a breakdown of which political groups/national factions the 19 belonged to; and which the 12 belonged to, so we know who to concentrate on in the remaining weeks?

     

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  2.  
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    Rob8urcakes, Jun 21st, 2012 @ 8:36am

    Re: List of MEPs ...

    If you don't get your answer here at TD, try emailing Socialist MEP Paul Murphy at paul.murphy@europarl.europa.eu as he's on INTA and should have access to that exact info.

    Don't forget to thank him for voting against ACTA too as he was one of the 19 :)

    Meanwhile, here's the FULL list of MEPs on INTA -


    ioannis.kasoulides@europarl.europa.eu
    damien.abad@europarl.europa.eu
    franck.proust@europarl.europa.eu
    tokia.saifi@europarl.europa.eu
    marielle.desarnez@europarl.europa.eu
    jacky.henin@europarl.europa.eu
    harlem.desir@europarl.europa.eu
    marine.lepen@europarl.europa.eu
    paul.murphy@europarl.europa.eu
    matteo.salvini@europarl.europa.eu
    gianluca.susta@europarl.europa.eu
    francesca.balzani@europarl.europa.eu
    david.sassoli@europarl.europa.eu
    inese.vaidere@europarl.europa.eu
    laimaliucija.andrikiene@europarl.europa.eu
    marietje.schaake@europarl.europa.eu
    jaroslaw.walesa@europarl.europa.eu
    malgorzata.handzlik@europarl.europa.eu
    iuliu.winkler@europarl.europa.eu
    georgesabin.cutas@europarl.europa.eu
    george.becali@europarl.europa.eu
    mariaauxiliadora.correazamora@europarl.europa.eu
    josefa.andresbarea@europarl.europa.eu
    maria.badiaicutchet@europarl.europa.eu
    catherine.bearder@europarl.europa.eu
    keith.taylor@europarl.europa.eu
    david.campbellbannerman@europarl.europa.eu
    syed.kamall@europarl.europa.eu
    emma.mcclarkin@europarl.europa.eu
    william.dartmouth@europarl.europa.eu
    christofer.fjellner@europarl.europa.eu
    amelia.andersdotter@europarl.europa.eu
    miloslav.ransdorf@europarl.europa.eu
    jan.zahradil@europarl.europa.eu
    libor.roucek@europarl.europa.eu
    daniel.caspary@europarl.europa.eu
    godelieve.quisthoudt-rowohl@europarl.europa.eu
    albert.dess@europarl.europa.eu
    silvana.koch-mehrin@europarl.europa.eu
    helmut.scholz@europarl.europa.eu
    bernd.lange@europarl.europa.eu
    bela.glattfelder@europarl.europa.eu
    elisabeth.koestinger@europarl.europa.eu
    joerg.leichtfried@europarl.europa.eu

     

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  3.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 21st, 2012 @ 8:39am

    it's obvious that the 'more votes than people' thing was intentional. there must be a record of who voted and in which way, as it was not 'the secret ballot' that was tried to be done. so what action is going to be taken against whoever it was that voted when they shouldn't? none, i suspect, but it would be good to 'name and shame them'.

    there should also be changes made whereby those that want something implemented, when it appears it isn't going to happen, should not be allowed to further influence the vote by inviting themselves into the meeting prior to the vote, as Karel de Gucht did, especially when no one from the opposite side of the debate is allowed to do the same. this presents a totally biased impression on the whole procedure. perhaps after this fiasco, politicians will actually realise that the people are not going to sit back and be walked all over by big industries or their lackeys. trying to enforce new or changes to legislation in secret discussions between businesses and other interested parties but not allowing the public to be represented must never be allowed to happen again. i hope Ron Kirk is reading this and is prepared for the shit storm that will eventually hit him, as it hits all arse holes!!

     

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  4.  
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    Another AC, Jun 21st, 2012 @ 8:52am

    Re:

    The only reason I can come up with to vote both for and against it is that if they are challenged either way they can claim they didn't vote that way, but that seems... evil.

    Citizen: "Hey why did you vote for that ACTA thing?"
    MEP: "No, I voted against it."

    Lobbyist: "Hey why didn't you vote for that ACTA thing we told you to vote for?"
    MEP: "No, I did vote for it."

     

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  5.  
    icon
    Paul Keller (profile), Jun 21st, 2012 @ 9:12am

    language / more useful list of MEPs

    @glyn: you might want to consider to use more precise language here. Pretty much everybody involved in the proces is a politician (including Commissioners). The people you refer to as politicians in this article are parliamentarians (or MEPs or lawmakers).

    @Rob8urcakes & @J: you can find a list that provides more information (like party affiliation, and voting records) here:

    https://memopol.lqdn.fr/europe/parliament/committee/INTA/

     

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  6.  
    identicon
    Tracy Morgan, Jun 21st, 2012 @ 9:16am

    Re: Re: List of MEPs ...

    Damn those guys really got some funny names!

     

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  7.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 21st, 2012 @ 9:20am

    Re: Re: Re: List of MEPs ...

    Who names their kids Europarl?!?

     

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  8.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 21st, 2012 @ 9:29am

    pro-ACTA shenanigans

    Torrentfreak goes into a bit more detail about some of the pro-ACTA shenanigans that went on during the meeting:

    There has been no shortage of stunts pulled that were, at best, questionable. Yesterday at 18:00, the person responsible for ACTA in the European Commission (roughly the executive branch of Europe), Karel de Gucht, held a firebrand speech to the committee, telling them how to vote. He added that if Parliament votes the wrong way, he’ll just re-submit ACTA to the next parliament (!). He was later rightfully scolded by some Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) for showing an unacceptable level of disrespect for the separation of powers and for the democratic institution of Parliament.

    So this morning, the INTA committee gathered for its vote. Some industry group had managed to put up a poster across the entire door, urging them to vote for adoption. This breaks a very long set of very bureaucratic rules and raised quite a few eyebrows. The room was filled to and over capacity – TV cameras were lining the walls, and people were standing in the back and along the sides, all seats being taken in the quite large room. INTA had 32 items on its agenda, starting at 10:00, and ACTA was last.
    "

     

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  9.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 21st, 2012 @ 9:39am

    EU the new democracy and land of the free?

    finally a place where the voice of the people are being listened to... certainly not in Canada and the US.

     

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  10.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 21st, 2012 @ 9:39am

    EU the new democracy and land of the free?

    finally a place where the voice of the people are being listened to... certainly not in Canada and the US.

     

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  11.  
    icon
    The eejit (profile), Jun 21st, 2012 @ 9:46am

    Re: EU the new democracy and land of the free?

    This is the first thing that the EP and EU have listened to properly for decades, with regards to the public.

     

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  12.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 21st, 2012 @ 10:27am

    Re: pro-ACTA shenanigans

    Karel de Gucht even fell so low as to strawman the Greens by naming them and their wish a year ago for a courts opinion (Not taking into account the far broader definitions they wanted and what happened since then.) They do not seem to make many friends in the parliament with the way they act in this case.

    More worrying: The conservatives has gone from having no official opinion on ACTA but supporting it to going all in on delaying the final vote. ECR is completely behind them on that and even worse: ALDE was very vague in their comment and suggested that a delay may be a good idea.

    Something very positive was also uttered. The second biggest group S&D expressed concerns over "proportionality of sanctions", which is the biggest pillar of the treaty. It is a weak expression but suggests that they cannot accept ACTA no matter how far the commission goes to showe it down peoples throats.

    Given the commission will just resubmit ACTA if it is turned down now, a delay will be the same thing objectively speaking, but without the huge letdown of a no-vote hanging over it. Psychologically it is huge if EU votes no and it could end up screwing over the ratification from the other parties. In USA it might go to court as a question about procedure and authority, in New Zealand and Australia the ratification seems to be slowed down by concerns from libraries and universities. Without any 2 of those 3 ACTA is officially dead.

     

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  13.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 21st, 2012 @ 11:18am

    Re: Re: EU the new democracy and land of the free?

    I'm not sure if they hear the public, but I'm sure they hear 'foot on the ass' just fine.

     

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  14.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 21st, 2012 @ 11:27am

    Re: Re: Re: EU the new democracy and land of the free?

    Same thing =)

     

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  15.  
    icon
    Tor (profile), Jun 21st, 2012 @ 11:34am

    pro-ACTA poster

    Apparently some ACTA proponent had put up a pro-ACTA poster on the door of the committee that voted today. The cover image is apparently copyrighted by the shipping company Hamburg Süd Group whose terms of use stipulate that their images may be used freely only "for purposes of free editorial reporting and with [...] attribution". Neither seems to be the case here.

    I wonder if the pro-ACTA campaign had been granted permission to use the image like this.

     

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  16.  
    icon
    Chuck Norris' Enemy (deceased) (profile), Jun 21st, 2012 @ 11:44am

    Re: EU the new democracy and land of the free?

    ???
    The people stopped SOPA and PIPA here in the US. Activating the community can persuade representatives, over the $ from the special interest groups.

    Well our detractors would say it was Google but, hey, they refuse that the voice of the people won out over $.

     

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  17.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 21st, 2012 @ 12:23pm

    Re: pro-ACTA poster

    No no, look closely. In the copyrighted picture, the ship "Alianca" has her name visible on the side and front. In the original photo on the pro-ACTA poster, the ship HAS no name, CLEARLY a different picture. After all, they wouldn't be so crude as to just cover the name with red paint.

     

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  18.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 21st, 2012 @ 12:33pm

    Re: pro-ACTA poster

    Just looked at the poster. Due to Microsoft, wherever I hear the phrase "Get the facts" on some kind of advertising poster or website, I just automatically assume that anything else said by that party is a blatant lie.

     

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  19.  
    identicon
    Carthage must be destroyed, Jun 21st, 2012 @ 1:57pm

    Re: Re: EU the new democracy and land of the free?

    This is the first time they have been contacted by citizens who are concerned.
    Carthage must be destroyed.
    They live in a small world surrounded by constant mails, phone-calls and meetings with lobbyists whos interests gets repeated in as many possible disguises as possible to avoid making the politicians see that they are getting manipulated constantly.
    Carthage must be destroyed.
    The european parliament is so secluded from the real world that most parliamentarians tend to flee home as soon as they get the chance.
    Carthage must be destroyed.

    By the way: Cato the elder is an inspiration for those people.
    Carthage really must be destoyed.

     

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  20.  
    identicon
    Androgynous Cowherd, Jun 21st, 2012 @ 4:09pm

    Irony to come?

    It would be quite ironic if July 4 became known as the day the EU declared independence from the United States's corporate-lobby-driven interests.

     

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  21.  
    icon
    ethorad (profile), Jun 22nd, 2012 @ 12:06am

    Re: Re: EU the new democracy and land of the free?

    Quite. After all, just ask Ireland and Denmark - if the people vote the wrong way then they're told to keep voting until they get the right answer. Go democracy!

     

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  22.  
    icon
    Tor (profile), Jun 22nd, 2012 @ 4:20am

    Re: Re: pro-ACTA poster

    That's interesting - I hadn't noticed that. For casual readers I should perhaps point out that it really is the same picture (apart from the digital removal of two occurances of the ship name).

     

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  23.  
    identicon
    Chilly8, Jun 24th, 2012 @ 10:53pm

    I wonder if Ecuador might not be the next target in a trade agreement. The new Ecuadoran president want a trade agreement with the USA. I see some kind of IP enforcement chapter with that. Or might Ecuador join TPP?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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