Resolution adopted at the Copenhagen Spring Council, May 11-13, 2012
Download the EGP resolution here...
ACTA is not transparent, non-democratic and exclusive
The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) was negotiated by the EU, the USA and a small group of other states supported by industry lobby groups behind closed doors without the participation of parliaments and civil society. As the attempt to push for stricter enforcement rules of intellectual property rights failed in multilateral fora like the WTO and the WIPO, the states pushing for ACTA, decided to negotiate in an exclusive group without developing countries. We as European Greens strongly oppose this move away from international fora and to start a policy of closed shops and not- transparent processes.
ACTA threatens the freedom of information in the Internet
Although ACTA does not (anymore) oblige the treaty parties to control and inflict ISP infringement, it still lists these provisions as goals to be reached. The signatories shall, for example, work towards a stronger cooperation between Internet Service Providers and ISP right holders. This would lead to more stringent rights’ enforcement by the ISPs for fear of responsibility for alleged Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) infringement by their customers and give matter to the notion of privatised rights’ enforcement outside of regular formal legal procedures.
ACTA endangers the access to medicine
Patients all over the globe, but especially in developing countries depend to a large extent on the affordable generics – often produced in other developing countries like India but shipped through the EU. As ACTA also covers trademarks, customs’ officers will become entitled to seize generics in transit if they as much as resemble patented medicine by their packaging. ACTA will facilitate the destruction of confiscated medicine – now only possible in very limited circumstances. Forced information disclosure in the production chain will be made easier for right holders and thus cause a chilling effect for producers of generic medicine- that means out of fear for punishment decrease or stop production. All these measures go beyond TRIPS, curb the developing countries’ TRIPS flexibilities and threaten the trade with legitimate generic medicine.
ACTA paves a wrong way of how to deal with copyright
A more and more rigid way of copyright and IPR infringement became more dominant in the last years. We saw TRIPS that made life difficult for developing countries. Companies can patent new forms of broccoli or Amazonas plants. Pharmaceutical companies patent every tiny change of a medicine. We Greens want a reform of the IPR system so that it is based on a fair balance of right holders and users. We Greens are discussing therefor the best ways to modernize and reform copyright and IPR legislation to reach these goals. ACTA however would cement the old, rigid approach for the years to come.
ACTA does not even hold what it promises
The Commission and other ACTA proponents claim that ACTA wants to fight counterfeit products. In reality, ACTA is useless in preventing the production of faked Gucci sun glasses since the biggest producer country of counterfeit products, China, is not even part of ACTA. ACTA cannot prevent the trade with faked, dangerous medicine.
The people do not want ACTA
The big protest movement all over the world, especially Europe showed that European citizens do not want ACTA. The pressure from the streets showed already its impact. The European Commission itself is starting to doubt and decided to refer ACTA to the European Court of Justice. Other political groups in the European Parliament woke up and started critical debates – also after having received thousands of e-mails from concerned citizens. There is a political momentum for making ACTA history.
Therefore, we, as European Greens:
1.Strictly oppose ACTA;
2.Support the protest movement all over the world;
3.Urge the European Parliament and ACTA signatories’ national parliaments to refuse consent on ACTA;
4.Conduct ex-ante and ex-post human rights impact assessments with every trade agreement.
5. We are aware of the fact, that ACTA is not an isolated attempt to reduce the freedom of Internet or access to medicines. The European Greens call upon the European Parliament and the EU Commission that they should consistently support and fight for net neutrality and an open and free Internet, and access to medicines and against reducing Internet freedom as in IPRED or other upcoming international negotiations.