The European Parliament has recently issued a press release entitled, “What You Should Know About ACTA,” which details who among the EU’s members have signed it, what ACTA is, and what has to happen for the bill to either be accepted or rejected. The press release is written in a neutral format, favoring neither for nor against the anti-piracy treaty; it simply details the numerous options the governing body has to defeat it. It’s important to note that there are plenty of options to see the treaty permanently delayed or rejected altogether.
As it has already been negotiated, the Parliament is unable to make any changes to the treaty but it can either approve or reject it. The Parliament is also able to let a decision on the matter remain “pending” because there is no legal deadline for a response. Another possibility open to the Parliament is for them to vote to refer it to the European Court of Justice for a ruling on its compatibility with wider EU law. If it’s sent to the Court of Justice, ACTA cannot be enforced until the court has made a decision on it.
If the European Parliament approves ACTA, all of the EU member states have to approve the treaty. However, if it’s rejected by the European Parliament, the press release states, “If six countries outside the EU still ratify it then the agreement will enter into force there.” So those countries that ratify it could enforce it.
Analysis: Creating a press release that details what ACTA is all about is a smart move by the European Parliament. It allows those who might not be aware of the potential ramifications of the bill, or even those who are unaware of its existence, to get a balanced and unbiased view on the bill.
My only qualm with all of this is that ACTA can actually be enforced by members of the EU that approve of it, even if the majority of the EU rejects it. I’ll be honest, I don’t understand how this can really be the case, and it’s certainly a troubling fact for people who live in the countries that are in favour of the bill. It’s even more troubling that only Cyprus, Estonia, Slovakia, Germany, and the Netherlands are countries that haven’t already signed the bill. It’s certainly something to keep an eye on.