The European Parliament today voted to refuse its consent to the ratification of the ACTA anti-counterfeiting trade agreement by the European Union (1). The vote to reject ACTA effectively ends 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. Commenting on the outcome, Greens/EFA MEP and group spokesperson on ACTA Amelia Andersdotter (Sweden) said:
“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. 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."
(1) 39 votes in favour; 478 against; 165 abstentions