Secret vote on ACTA?

According to Marietje Schaake, member of the European Parliament’s International Trade committee (INTA), there is a rumor that there will be a request for a secret vote on ACTA. See her tweet.

Who would have somehing to hide? A small majority of groups are against ACTA. Proponents of ACTA may hope that a secret ballot may dilute group discipline, with a report recommending adoption of ACTA as result.

First the INTA committee secretariat denied the existence of coordinators’ minutes.

After that the INTA committee kept the legal service’s opinion on ACTA secret. After the Legal Affairs committee decided to publish it, the Chairman of the INTA committee made it secret again.

Then Commissioner De Gucht invited himself to the INTA committee, to address the committee just before the ACTA vote. The committee changed that to: you can come on Wednesday, not Thursday just before the vote. (revised agenda, pdf): 20 June 2012, 18.00 – 18.30, point 13 Exchange of views with Karel De Gucht, Commissioner for Trade, on the Anti-
Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA).

The vote will be on Thursday 21 June after 10 am (point 32, there is a long list). And it may be secret.

Secret ballots are possible under EP Rules of Procedure 196 in combination with RoP 169. It takes one-fifth of the component Members.

169.2: “Voting may also be by secret ballot if this is requested by at least one-fifth of the component Members of Parliament. Such requests must be made before voting begins.

When a request for a secret ballot is submitted by at least one fifth of the component Members of Parliament before voting begins, Parliament must hold such a vote.”

Secret ballots are very unusual, except for appointments. After years of secrecy, a secret committee vote?



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