European Commission withdraws ACTA referral

The European Commission has withdrawn its referral of ACTA to the European Court of Justice. This spring, the commission had asked the court: “Is the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) compatible with the European Treaties, in particular with the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union?”

It did this in the midst of massive protests against ACTA, hoping the European Parliament would postpone its vote. After the parliament voted against ACTA, the commission kept the referral to the court alive. It hoped that the court would find no problems with ACTA, it could then send a cosmetically changed ACTA to the parliament.

With the withdrawal of the ACTA referral to the court this second change for ACTA is now impossible. ACTA is fully dead in the EU.

As Switzerland intended to follow the EU, ACTA may be dead in Switzerland as well. Other countries may still ratify ACTA.

The withdrawal of ACTA comes a few weeks after the FFII sent an amicus curiae brief on ACTA to the Court. The registry of the Court answered a few hours later that “only the Member States, the European Parliament, the Council and the European Commission may participate in the Opinion procedure and submit written statements. The Court does not accept amicus curiae briefs from third parties.”

In an open letter to the President of the Court of Justice of the European Union, Mr Vassilios Skouris, the FFII asked to reconsider the court’s rules on amicus curiae briefs in opinion procedures. Since the entry into force of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, the court is a human rights court. A human rights court that does not want to listen to humans, but only to states and institutions, is, well, not really convincing.

In its amicus curiae brief the FFII concludes that ACTA is not compatible with international human rights instruments, the European Convention on Human Rights, the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, or the European Treaties.

The commission feared a negative court opinion on ACTA. Earlier it has always expressed full confidence that ACTA was fully compatible with the European Treaties and fundamental rights. It can never do this any more, as it now has withdrawn its referral to the Court.

It took an unprecedented mobilisation across the globe to get rid of ACTA. Millions of people now know secret legislative processes are unacceptable, know that “free trade agreements” can threaten freedom and health.

We can expect ACTA like provisions in other EU trade agreements, with Canada (CETA), EU-India and EU – US.

At other side of the planet the US negotiates the TPP, a health and freedom threatening trade agreement the provisions of which may come to Europe as well.

ACTA is dead in the EU. Thanks everyone, nice holidays and stay tuned in the new year.

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  1. Pingback: Final Blow to ACTA in the EU: European Court of Justice No Longer to Rule on Its Legality » infojustice