Business | July 05, 2012

ACTA rejected by European Parliament

The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) has been rejected by the European Parliament. Neither the EU nor its individual member states can join the agreement.
This was the first time that Parliament exercised its Lisbon Treaty power to reject an international trade agreement. The EU and its member states, the US, Australia, Canada, Japan, Mexico, Morocco, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea and Switzerland negotiated ACTA to improve enforcement of anti-counterfeiting law internationally.

Lobbying against ACTA was high. Parliament even received a petition - signed by almost 3 million people - asking for the agrement to be rejected.

The vote was as follows:
  • 478 MEPs against
  • 39 MEPs in favour
  • 165 MEPs abstained

Statement by EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht on European Plenary Vote on ACTA (Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement)

"Today the European Parliament has voted to reject the international trade agreement ACTA. I recognise the choice the European Parliament has made.


Today's rejection does not change the fact that the European Commission has committed itself to seeking answers to the questions raised by the European public. As I have stated before, the European Commission will continue to seek the legal opinion of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) on whether this agreement harms any of the fundamental rights of European citizens – including freedom of speech. European citizens have raised these concerns and now they have the right to receive answers. We must respect that right.

It's clear that the question of protecting Intellectual Property does need to be addressed on a global scale – for business, the creative industries whether in Europe or our partner countries. With the rejection of ACTA, the need to protect the backbone of Europe's economy across the globe: our innovation, our creativity, our ideas – our intellectual property – does not disappear.

The European Commission will take on-board the opinion of the ECJ and the issues raised across the European political spectrum. We will then consult with our international partners on how to move forward on this issue. As we look to boost growth and jobs at this challenging time for Europe's economy, we must work with the European Parliament, Member States, our international partners as well as stakeholders on the protection of Intellectual Property at international level and within the framework of international law."
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