ACTA is almost dead - European Commission Vice-President

Daniela Bartolo | 10 May 2012

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As the EU awaits the verdict of the European Court of Justice, its highest court, to determine the compatibility of ACTA with the guardian principles of EU law, the EU Vice-President of the European Commission Neelie Kroes has declared that the controversial Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) will probably never be agreed upon and will never come into force.

 
Kroess, who is responsible for the European Commission's Digital Agenda, attributed this to the significant public protests against measures in the ACTA Treaty addressing online copyright infringement.  The Vice-President held that the stirrup caused by the Treaty calls for a solution that makes the Internet a “place of freedom, openness, and innovation fit for all citizens, not just for the techno avant-garde”.
 
In the aftermath of the signing ceremony of the Treaty, in February protests across the EU voiced the concern that ACTA will have a negative impact on internet freedom. This was followed by a suspension of the ratification of the Treaty in a number of EU ACTA signatories, including Poland and the Czech Republic.
 
Malta, in the mean time announced that it will be introducing internet freedom as a civil right, indicating that the Government was ready to guarantee that even if ACTA comes into force, rights of internet users in Malta are safeguarded.
 
The Treaty will come into force only once six signatory countries successfully ratify the agreement. Although signed by the United States, the European Union and 22 of its Member States, Australia, Canada, Japan, Morocco, New Zealand, Singapore, and South Korea, to date, no ratification has taken place.
 
In the EU, the Treaty may come into effect only once the signatory countries and the European Parliament approve the text. However this approval has now become doubtful and the fate of ACTA is bleak.
 
A final vote by the members of the European Parliament is expected by June.
 
In recent hours, the Swiss government announced that it would withhold its signature while deliberations in the EU are pending.


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