EU Member Bulgaria Halts ACTA, Minister Of Economy Offers Resignation

from the ACTA-la-vista-baby dept

Following a long list of countries including Poland, Latvia and the Czech Republic, Bulgaria’s government has now announced it’s halting the ratification of the ACTA-treaty. Bulgaria’s Minister of Economics and Energy even went as far as offering his resignation, while commenting:

“Since there are no damages for society, I believe the move is sufficient as a sign of assuming responsibility. I was convinced that this agreement would be beneficial for Bulgaria. Even now experts say its positive effects would outweigh the negative ones.”

It’s unclear which ‘experts’ the Minister is referring to. It’s also a little hard to believe that someone would offer their resignation when they were convinced they were doing the right thing. Especially when the Prime Minister instructs his party to vote against ACTA in the European Parliament:

“The PM further vowed that the Members of the European Parliament from his ruling, center-right Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria party, GERB, would not endorse the ratification of ACTA.”

What is certain is that the nationwide protests last weekend such as in the video below, which saw impressive numbers on the streets of 16 cities in a country of 7.5 million people, have startled the government sufficiently to understand they need to be more wary about the types of treaties they sign, especially when those treaties infringe on civil liberties. While proponents of stronger IP protection get more audacious, an increasing amount of people are taking to the streets to hold their governments accountable for signing these treaties or comparable laws.

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Comments on “EU Member Bulgaria Halts ACTA, Minister Of Economy Offers Resignation”

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Alex Macfie (profile) says:

Separation of powers

Note that the prime minister cannot (officially) “instruct” MEPs from his party to vote a particular way: it is a separate institution from the government, with whipping determined by the transnational party groups. It’s a similar relationship to that between a state governor and the US House of Representatives. He can state how he would like his party’s MEPs to vote, and can certainly put strong pressure on them, but he cannot tell them how to vote. Last year UK Conservative MEPs defied their party leader (and Prime Minister) in a vote on EU climate change policy, so it isn’t a certainty that MEPs vote the way their national party leadership would like them to.

Anonymous Coward says:


It’s not really hard at all to believe someone would offer their resignation if they are convinces that something is the right thing to do but their prime minister pulls the rug from under their feet.

It is in fact the absolutely normal thing to do in circumstances like that.
Whether we agree with his view or not is irrelevant to whether it is to be expected that someone dedicated to a particular view would resign his position when over ruled on matters he has direct responsibility for, especially when what he has done is being undone.

I’m glad it is being undone of course.

Alex Macfie (profile) says:

Separation of powers

The UK example wasn’t an analogy, but an actual example of a European Parliamentary party delegation defying its national party leader, just to show that it can and does happen. I do know that the analogy with the US state governor/Congress is imperfect [e.g. the state governor is not the state party leader; national parties in EU states are separate orgnisations that affiliate to European parties, as opposed to being federal orgnisations in the US]. And yes, some national parties in the European Parliament may have a stronger tendency than others to defer to the party leadership (the UK Labour Party tends to do this, often causing ructures with its European party group).

Anonymous Coward says:

So you are surprised that there are ACTA protests in countries that are net IP consumers, rather than producers? They don’t want tougher laws, it will only hurt their ability to get stuff for free online. Why would they want to do that?

Remind me again of all the wild international music and movie successes coming out of Bulgaria, and all the big software companies there.

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