Latvia Joins Countries Putting The Brakes On ACTA Approval

from the join-the-party dept

Following the news that Poland and the Czech Republic have put the brakes on ACTA ratification, we can now add Latvia to the bunch:

The Economy Minister Daniels Pavluts has decided to block the ratification of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), which has caused wide protests in the society.

On Wednesday, February 8, the Minister announced that he made the decision taking into account the mood of various groups of the society, as well as worries of several experts about the possibility of ACTA implementation in Latvia.

He thinks that it is already too late for a proactive and timely explanation of what ACTA really means. So now there is no rush with its ratification in the Parliament. “First we need a constructive and reasoned dialogue and a discussion with all the interested parties,” he says.

Of course, Poland, the Czech Republic and Latvia are “smaller” players in the EU, and there are disputes over whether or not having some countries decide not to ratify kills the whole process. Basically, there are different interpretations of how things work under the Lisbon Treaty, with some saying that even if some countries don’t ratify, the EU could still ratify and issue a directive forcing the various member states to “harmonize.” So it’s good to see these countries putting the brakes on what was going to be a pure “check the boxes” approval process — but ACTA is still very likely to move forward overall.

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Comments on “Latvia Joins Countries Putting The Brakes On ACTA Approval”

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Cowardly Anonymous says:

I can see a few issues with that tactic...

Forcing a government to sign a treaty would almost certainly undermine the national identity inherent in that government’s political structure, which is forbidden under Article 3a part 2 of the Treaty on European Union resulting from the Lisbon Treaty.

If it doesn’t violate that, then it certainly violates the principle of conferral set out in Article 3b part 2, as the refusal to ratify a treaty is a clear demonstration that a government has not conferred the power to acquiesce to that treaty to the Union.

The resultant Article 49 is clear that a consensus must be achieved for any further amendment. Even the simplified procedure allows for a single parliament to prevent the amendment, so long as the rejection is decided within 6 months.

Article 2c part 2 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union clearly places public health matters, which ACTA addresses through its mention of medicine, in the shared realm of competences between the member states and the Union.

Article 2c part 3 reserves a similar status for technological development, which ACTA clearly impacts.

Article 28 provides a clear reason why ACTA can not take effect in any one nation of the EU without ratification from all nations (as does Article 29 and plenty of other Articles).

The Union is not allowed to sign treaties with third parties outside its competencies, which is why the countries are included in the ratification process. No specific Article for this point, I already moved away from it and I’m not finding it again.

By the way, that is one long document…

Source I’m using (pdf, 263 pages)

Taking a step back for a second, you are suggesting that the EU would survive forcing a nation to sign a treaty. The Union must see how much of a power grab this would represent and how much of a folly it would be to attempt this.

If the Union could issue an order to a nation to sign a treaty, it could convey upon itself greater power, without the consent of all governments involved. The Union would likely dissolve if this was attempted.

a sad dude (profile) says:

I’ve just returned from a “discussion” between some of the representatives of Latvian ministries, and it seems that the “brakes” are just put to “calm everyone down”. It was obvious that they still intend to ratify it no matter what, and for most of the “discussion” the representatives just kept talking about how it’s all already in EU and local laws, and TRIPS and other agreements, and nothing is going to change (which is bullshit).

When I pointed out some of the most obvious bullshit (the definition of “commercial scale”, which does not exist in TRIPS or local laws), the answer was that “yeah, this one is kinda not what we have, but that’s ok, because, well, “criminal” in ACTA does not necessarily mean “criminal” in Latvian law (what?), and there’s still no reason to worry. And then the topic was swiftly changed. I’m pretty sure “discussions” everywhere else work in a similar way.

But well, at least in this discussion we did come to conclusion that discussion is needed. Great success.

Anonymous Coward says:


“He thinks that it is already too late for a proactive and timely explanation of what ACTA really means.”

Minister, we have the full text of ACTA. We are perfectly capable of reading it for ourselves and coming to our own conclusions, without any “explanations” from you. It is our view that such “explanations” from you would be unlikely to be either truthful or indeed useful in any way. We advise that you keep your mouth shut.

You might like to look up the word “patronising” in your dictionary. You could be surprised how seriously mistaken your approach is. As a senior politician, you really should be a lot better at this public relations stuff. Yes, minister?

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