Crucial ACTA Vote: Will INTA Committee Betray EU Citizens?
Brussels, June 19th 2012 - This Thursday, June 21st, the "International Trade" (INTA) committee of the EU Parliament will adopt its draft report on ACTA. Under pressure from the EU Commission and industry lobbyists1, members of the committee could decide, potentially in a secret vote, to call for the adoption of ACTA or to postpone the final vote for years, which would help the pro-ACTA to save face. Citizens participation is absolutely crucial to ensure that the Parliament will stick to the general interest and face its political responsibility by voting a clear rejection of ACTA.
This Thursday, June 21st, the "International Trade" (INTA) committee will recommend the rest of the Parliament to either accept or reject ACTA.
For months, many NGOs and public institutions produced analysis and commentaries, showing that ACTA is dangerous for innovation, freedom of speech and privacy online. Hundreds of thousands of citizens took the streets this past winter against ACTA, urging for a reform of today's outdated copyright regime. This has led to an intense political debate within the EU Parliament. The different opinion reports recently adopted by several committees of the Parliament urged for the rejection of ACTA.
But as the final vote of the EU Parliament gets closer (scheduled for July 3rd-5th2), all these efforts could be smashed.
Whereas the draft report of INTA rapporteur David Martin (UK, S&D) recommends the rejection of ACTA, other INTA members have tabled amendments asking either for the adoption of ACTA or for postponing the vote for years, pending an opinion of the EU Court of Justice on the legality of the agreement. Postponing the vote would ruin all chances to have ACTA rejected any time soon, and would pave the way to more repressive policies in the meantime. Citizens must remind Members of the INTA committee that postponing ACTA vote is a tactic of both the EU Commission and copyright lobbies to save face. If the final vote is postponed, the EU Parliament would be seen as playing into the hands of ACTA supporters, renouncing to its political power and its mission to defend citizens.
"Confirmed rumours in the corridors of the Parliament suggest that Thursday's vote could be held in secret. Such a trick would allow Members of political groups who are officially against ACTA to escape their political responsibility. Important progress has been made in the last months as policy-makers increasingly understand the need to break away from repression and to reform copyright. We cannot allow powerful lobbies and the EU Commission to erase it all", says Jérémie Zimmermann, spokesperson for La Quadrature du Net.