Thursday, July 5, 2012
For the first time since the Lisbon Treaty took effect, the European Parliament has used its powers to block the adoption of an international treaty. Members of Parliament voted overwhelmingly against ratification of the Anti-Counterfeiting Treaty Agreement (ACTA). ACTA is intended to establish international standards for the enforcement of intellectual property rights to combat counterfeiting and piracy. It also would establish a new international body, the ACTA Committee, to oversee the treaty's implementation. It has been signed by eight nations, including the US, plus the EU and 22 of its member states, but has not been ratified by any nations yet. Six ratifications are needed for the treaty to take effect. Concerns have been raised regarding the treaty's impact on freedom of expression, privacy, transparency, and access to medicines in developing countries. The final text of ACTA may be found here. However, some predict that the European Commission may now try to persuade the other signatory parties to reopen negotiations on the more controversial provisions.