The European Parliament Committee on International Trade has recently voted to move ahead with its consideration of ACTA despite the actions of the European Commission in deferring the ratification process by referring ACTA to the European Court of Justice.
The proposal to recommend that the Parliament should refer ACTA to the European Court of Justice was rejected by the Committee of International Trade with 21 MEPs against, 5 in favour and 2 abstentions.
It was previously thought that the Committee of International Trade would also formally refer ACTA to the European Court of Justice, which would have meant an official halting of the ratification process in the Parliament.
Speaking on this issue, Liam Aylward MEP for Ireland East stated: “The action of the European Commission in referring ACTA to the ECJ is welcome as it is clear that we need to determine if ACTA is compatible with the EU’s fundamental rights and freedoms.
“There has been significant public interest in ACTA and citizens are concerned about its implications for them. However, clarification is needed as to how long the European Court of Justice’s decision will take and what the procedure will be from here, particularly as the European Parliament is going ahead with its consideration of ACTA.”
The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement is a plurilateral agreement for the purpose of establishing international standards on the enforcement of intellectual property rights in the participating countries.
“It is clear that action is needed to tackle counterfeit medicines and products which put people’s health and lives at risk but information is required on the implications of the Agreement for the fundamental rights, such as freedom of expression and the right to property in the case of intellectual property,” he said.
The Ireland East MEP has recently submitted a written question to the European Commission, seeking details on the proposed timeline for the European Court of Justices’ response to the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement and also clarification on how the Agreement , if ratified, would be enforced.