All signs may point to ACTA being on the ropes, but a report recently published suggests that the vote in the European Parliament’s International Affairs committee may actually be a tight one. The vote is set for June 21 which is later this week.
A lot of signs pointed to the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) being on the ropes, but one report says that a key vote at the International Affairs committee could still be a close one. The embattled agreement suffered a major string of setbacks, one of which being four European committees all rejecting the agreement. Still, European citizens and activists aren’t just sitting around expecting the battle to be won. In fact, there were worldwide demonstrations against the agreement to bring home the point that citizens are not happy about this agreement and that their governments should vote it down.
Proponents of the agreement who also believe that ACTA still has a chance are becoming increasingly isolated. The Motion Picture Association (MPA) is still trying to urge the European government to approve of the agreement all the while calling criticisms of ACTA merely “false arguments“.
Now, the next step for ACTA is another crucial vote by the European Parliament’s International Affairs committee. From the previous reports we’ve read, this is the big vote before it heads to the European house for the vote that says ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to the agreement. If the committee votes against ACTA, it could be one of the final nails in the ACTA coffin. If they approve of the agreement, it could breathe new life into ACTA and, for all we know, break the steady stream of blows its recieved in recent months. How is the committee expected to vote? One report says that it’s actually too close to call. From the EUObserver:
David Martin, the British centre-left MEP tasked with drafting Parliament’s response on Acta, is urging the committee to reject the deal. However parliament sources suggested that the vote could be tighter than previously thought.
Both the centre-right EPP group, which is comfortably the largest party group in Parliament, and the eurosceptic ECR group, are proposing rival amendments to keep Acta alive. A full Parliamentary vote in Strasbourg would then be held in July.
Although Digital Agenda Commissioner Neelie Kroes appeared to admit defeat on Acta during a speech on internet freedom in Berlin last month, MEPs have come under mounting pressure from the commission and pro-Acta lobby groups over the last month to delay their decision until the European Court of Justice (ECJ) releases its legal opinion on the treaty.
The article goes on to discuss the various parties and individuals who are supporting or opposed to ACTA while many are proposing amendments as well.
What is just as unclear as the committee vote is how the rest of the world would react should ACTA be defeated in Europe. The questions that come to my mind if ACTA is indeed defeated in Europe would be “Will other countries consider dropping ACTA as well?”, “Would that undermine pressure from certain lobby groups to incorporate ACTA into laws?” and “Are there other ways lobby groups can still push ACTA into Europe anyway?” Of course, these questions presume a lot. The committee vote is still days away. So, we’ll watch the developments as they happen and assess things from there.