The vote marks the culmination of a Europe wide campaign to have MEPs recognise the problems with ACTA's approach and the threat that it posed to individual privacy and freedoms.
This American 'Independence Day', July 4, the European Parliament struck a blow for European democracy and internet freedom by voting to refuse its consent to the ratification of the ACTA anti-counterfeiting trade agreement by the European Union (39 votes in favour; 478 against; 165 abstentions). The vote to reject ACTA has effectively ended the prospect of the EU acceding to the treaty. The Greens/EFA group, which has been active on ACTA since the outset of the negotiations, welcomed the vote.
"ACTA has today been consigned to history. The Greens/EFA group has raised its concerns about this agreement since the outset of the shadowy negotiations, as have an ever growing number of citizens," said Greens/EFA MEP and group spokesperson on ACTA, Amelia Andersdotter, (Sweden). "We welcome the support of a decisive majority of MEPs for rejecting ACTA today; this is the just and democratic response to the mass mobilisation by citizens across Europe against ACTA. In addition to concerns about data protection and internet freedom, there were equally legitimate concerns about the potentially far-reaching implications of ACTA on fundamental rights, freedom of establishment and access to vital medicines. We welcome that we can now move on from this sorry chapter.
"This vote is a milestone for European democracy and for the political debate on intellectual property protection in the digital age. The EU must now begin an honest debate on IPRs. A good start would be to recognise that there can be no sweeping, once-size-fits-all approach to intellectual property enforcement. Instead, there is a need to assess the different challenges facing different economic sectors and different aspects of intellectual property and develop individual solutions for these sectors. At EU-level, finally tackling the much-needed reform of EU copyright law should be a priority to this end."
The vote marks the culmination of a Europe wide campaign to have MEPs recognise the problems with ACTA's approach and the threat that it posed to individual privacy and freedoms. Green Parties across the continent have joined the Greens in Brussels in organising and participating in protest marches and demonstrations, and the EGP is working to collect these together over on our Facebook page and Flickr accounts. The victory has caught the public and media attention across the world, and the Greens MEPs action has been seen on the front pages of newspapers and websites across the world.