Tomorrow (4th July 2012) the European Parliament is scheduled to hold
its final and decisive vote on the controversial Anti-Counterfeiting
Agreement (ACTA) during the July plenary session. See news report
ACTA should not be ratified by the European Union as it contains
several TRIPS-Plus intellectual property enforcement provisions which
have serious implications for access to medicine in developing
countries. For ACTA and its impact on access to medicines.
Other groups too have strongly opposed ACTA as they believe that the
Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement can be interpreted in ways that
are inimical to privacy and Internet freedom. See
Several EU member countries, most recently the Netherlands (Dutch
House of Representatives), have rejected the treaty.
Different committees in the European Parliament considered ACTA in the
process of ratification. Already, five parliamentary committees –
International Trade, industry committee, legal affairs committee,
development committee and civil liberties committee – have already
advised to reject ACTA. In particular in June 2012, The International
Trade committee adopted David Martin’s (ACTA’s rapporteur) draft
opinion which proposes to reject ACTA, with 19 to 12 votes. Two
amendments proposing to give consent to ACTA were withdrawn. An
amendment proposing to postpone the vote on ACTA until after the
Court’s opinion was rejected with 19 to to 12 votes as well.
The rejection of ACTA by five EU Parliamentary committees ((INTA,
LIBE, JURI, ITRE and DEVE) is a move in the right direction and groups
working on access to medicines hope that the European Parliament will
vote against ACTA tomorrow.
The outcome of tomorrow’s vote in the EU parliament is crucial. Though
early signs in EU Parliament are positive but the matter is still open
and the Parliament can decide in either way. The ACTA question has
already been sent to the highest European Court by the Commission and
it is important that political leadership in the EU send a clear
message against ACTA.