ACTA Supporters In Europe Fighting To The Bitter End
from the what-a-cliffhanger dept
As Techdirt has reported over the last few months, the passage of ACTA through the European Union's approval process has been little short of extraordinary. At the end of last year, ACTA seemed almost certain to be approved without difficulty. Then, inspired by the Internet community's success in stopping SOPA, European citizens woke up to ACTA's problems and took to the streets in huge numbers.
The first ACTA rapporteur resigned, and the second later came out firmly against ACTA. The main European political parties announced their opposition to ACTA, except for the largest, the EPP Group. More recently, five out of five European Parliament committees recommended that the European Parliament should reject ACTA in the plenary vote on ratification.
That final vote is scheduled to take place this Wednesday, and the surprises keep on coming. First, we had a rumour that the right-of-centre EPP Group would ask for a secret vote, but that never happened. Then today we heard that the EPP Group would be asking for a postponement of the ACTA vote until after the European Court of Justice has given its verdict on the compatibility of ACTA with the European Union's treaties. That decision probably won't be handed down for a year or two, so this was plainly a delaying tactic. It was believed that the call for postponement would come at the meeting setting the agenda for the coming week, but once more nothing happened.
And then, unexpectedly, the the EPP Group posted the following message on its Twitter account:
#EPP will ask during tomorrow's debate on #ACTA for a postponement of the vote until we have ECJ's ruling.
It's not entirely clearly under what procedure the EPP Group will do this, although Jérémie Zimmermann from La Quadrature du Net suggested it might be under Rule 177 : Adjournment of a debate and vote, of the Rules of Procedure of the European Parliament.
However, there are also some rumors that the EPP Group is divided over whether it should attempt to postpone the vote – understandably, since it would be a huge slap in the face of the European electorate if this procedural trick were used to put off a decision on ACTA for a year or two. So, it's still not really clear what will happen tomorrow once the plenary session of the European Parliament begins. Or rather, one thing is clear: that the ACTA battle is by no means over, and that the EPP Group is fighting desperately to stave off defeat in the final vote on Wednesday.