Reply to my email in opposition of ACTA from Alyn Smith, David Martin

Anti ACTA Protest Berlin

Anti ACTA Protest Berlin (Photo credit: urbanartcore.eu)

Thank you for your email. I will be voting to stop ACTA as I believe it

is a poor agreement that will not achieve the aims it supposedly has,

and will also open the door to considerable infringement of liberty.

I have received a great deal of correspondence from constituents on the

topic of ACTA and I understand your concern over the potential

implications of the Agreement. I have been watching the progress of the

negotiations closely and the Parliament has been active and vocal on

this issue since the start of the discussions.

In March 2010, a Resolution “on the transparency and state of play of

the ACTA negotiations” was adopted with a strong cross-party majority.

This Resolution explicitly urged the European Commission to make the

negotiation texts available to the European Parliament – and

consequently, to society at large – as legally required by the Lisbon

Treaty. It also made it clear that the Parliament would not accept any

allegedly proposed provision which may limit fundamental rights – such

as the right to freedom of expression and the right to privacy – that

ACTA might contain.

I was a signatory of the European Parliament’s Written Declaration

12/2010 which called on EU negotiators to ensure that ACTA would not

weaken citizens’ fundamental rights of freedom of expression, privacy,

and judicial due process. This Declaration was signed by 377 Members of

the European Parliament and became the official non-binding position of

the European Parliament on ACTA.

My group in the European Parliament, the Greens/European Free Alliance,

has commissioned two very important studies regarding ACTA which may be

of interest to you. One is on the compatibility of ACTA with the

European Convention on Human Rights & the EU Charter of Fundamental

Rights (http://rfc.act-on-acta.eu/fundamental-rights) and the other is

in relation to Access to Medicines

(http://rfc.act-on-acta.eu/access-to-medicines).

The European Parliament must now give its consent to the agreement

reached. This will include discussions in different committees

(Committee for International Trade, Committee for Civil Liberties,

Justice and Home Affairs and Committee for Legal Affairs), none of which

I am a member of. I will, however, be following the discussions very

closely. The vote of consent is likely to take place towards late summer

2012.

Just for your information, the Commission has made a document compiling

all questions it has received on ACTA, which you can access at

http://trade.ec.europa.eu/doclib/docs/2011/april/tradoc_147852.pdf.

Thank you once again for writing to me on this important matter, and

please rest assured that I will continue to campaign for the protection

of the fundamental rights of EU citizens.

Yours aye,

Alyn

___________________________

Alyn Smith MEP

Member of the European Parliament for Scotland

Scottish National Party – On your side in Europe

The SNP is a democratic left of centre party committed to an independent

Scotland within the European Union.  The SNP is the government of

Scotland. E-mail: alyn.smith@europarl.europa.eu  Web:

www.alynsmith.eu or find me on Facebook! SNP Member?  E-mail us to sign

up for Alyn’s “Euronews network” of useful information from Brussels!

Brussels: European Parliament, 60 rue Wiertz, 08H149, B-1047 Brussels,

Belgium

Tel: 0032 (0)2 284 5187;        Fax: 0032 (0)2 284 9187

Scotland:

Edinburgh: SNP Headquarters, Gordon Lamb House, 3 Jackson’s Entry,

Edinburgh EH8 8PJ, Scotland

Glasgow: Room 334, Baltic Chambers, 50 Wellington Street, Glasgow G2

6HJ, Scotland”

Dear ________,

Thank you for writing to me regarding the Anti Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) between the European Union, Australia, Canada, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Morocco, New Zealand, Singapore, Switzerland and the US.

The European Parliament has a formal role in the eventual approval or rejection of this Agreement. The negotiations concluded in November 2010, and each negotiating party is now in the process of ratifying and signing the Agreement. In the EU this requires agreement from the Council of Ministers (made up of the 27 Member States) and the European Parliament. On Thursday 26th January 2012 twenty-two Member States (including the UK) signed the agreement.

The final text of the Agreement can be read here: Final ACTA text

As you may know I was appointed ‘rapporteur’ or MEP responsible for drafting the report in the International Trade committee.

As rapporteur, I called for a thorough and informed analysis and debate on the facts and myths surrounding ACTA. I – along with all S&D MEPs – have studied the final text carefully and listened to the concerns of all parties. The European Parliament organised a public hearing on 1st of March and the S&D group held a hearing on 12th April both of which I attended. During both of these debates, as well as the International Trade committee discussion on ACTA on 1st March, I raised concerns over several aspects of the Agreement, including civil liberties, internet freedom and the transit of generic medicines.

Unfortunately the vagueness of many aspects of the Agreement leaves a wide margin for interpretation. In particular the definition of “commercial-scale” and the implication this could potentially have on civil liberties is concerning. The consequences of ACTA on the behaviour of internet service providers and border agencies is also, unfortunately, not clear enough in the text.

Given the significant concerns over the vagueness of the ACTA text and the potential dangers which could emerge, I have recommended that the European Parliament rejects ACTA. This recommendation was adopted on 21st June in the International Trade committee, and will be put to a final vote by the full Parliament on 4th July.

In recommending a rejection of ACTA, I stress my commitment to adequate IPR protection for European manufacturers in order to stimulate the European economy and ensure European producers receive a fair return on their innovation as well as protect jobs in the EU. In addition it is important to note that intellectual property protection is necessary to ensure high safety standards in the EU and prevent the circulation of counterfeit medicines and car parts. While ACTA is not the right tool to tackle these issues, I hope more appropriate proposals can be found for protecting European creativity and intellectual property.

Thank you again for writing to me on this issue.

Best wishes,

David

David Martin MEP

Labour MEP for Scotland

T bxl  +32 2 284 55 39

F bxl  +32 2 284 95 39

T stras  +33 3 88 17 55 39

Website: www.martinmep.com

Blog: www.blogmartinmep.eu

Facebook: www.facebook.com/DavidMartinMEP

Twitter: www.twitter.com/DavidMartinMEP

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