Friday, June 22, 2012

Europe rejects ACTA?

Back in January, the European Union signed up to the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), a US-driven international agreement designed to impose American-style intellectual property laws (such as the hated s92A) on the rest of the world. Unlike New Zealand, the EU has democratic control of its foreign policy, and ratification requires the consent not just of the technocrats of the European Council, but also of the European Parliament. They've been taking a hard look at it for the last few months, and the assessment has been negative. It has now been rejected by the Development, Civil Liberties, Industry, and Legal Affairs committees, and now the International Trade Committee - the lead committee on this treaty - has done the same:

European lawmakers rejected the global Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (Acta) on Thursday, signalling that the European Parliament may soon use new-found rights to derail an international agreement for the first time.

"This vote is the penultimate nail in Acta's coffin," Jan Philipp Albrecht, a German Green politician in the legislature said, after the European Parliament's International Trade Committee (Inta) recommended 19-12 that the European Parliament reject the treaty in its upcoming vote on 4 July.

The treaty has already been rejected by several EU member-states, including Poland, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Latvia and Lithuania. So it seems highly unlikely to take effect in Europe.

Meanwhile, wouldn't it be nice if our Parliament got a real vote on treaties, rather than simply rubber-stamping the decisions of MFAT?