In February, European Commissioner for Trade, Karel De Gucht, announced that ACTA would be referred to the European Court of Justice (ECJ). The court will assess whether ACTA is incompatible with the EU's fundamental rights and freedoms, such as freedom of expression and information or data protection and the right to property in cases of intellectual property.
Today, however, the European Parliament has voted heavily against the treaty. Only 39 MEPs voted in favour of ACTA, while 478 voted against the measure and 165 abstained. This marks the first time that the Parliament has rejected an International trade agreement - a power it only gained in 2009 with the adopting of the Treaty of Lisbon.
The European Peoples Party's key ACTA advocate, Christofer Fjellner (EPP, SE), had asked the Parliament to delay its vote on the treaty until the ECJ delivered its ruling on it, but a majority of MEPs rejected the request.
The European Commission (EC) could still revive the ACTA debate if the ECJ finds that the treaty is no threat to fundamental rights, but the parliament vote today means that ACTA cannot now become law in the European Union.
"This is a tremendous victory for the movement, for democracy and for every European citizen that has demanded that their rights be respected. ACTA must be abandoned. The Commission must drop its calls to try again," said Jim Killock, Executive Director of the Open Rights Group.
"ORG would like to thank the thousands of activists from the UK that helped persuade MEPs to stand up for democracy."
Written by: James Delahunty @ 4 Jul 2012 9:57