The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) was
rejected by the European Parliament on Wednesday, and hence
cannot become law in the EU.
This was the first time that
parliament exercised its Lisbon Treaty power to reject an
international trade agreement. 478 MEPs voted against ACTA,
39 in favour, and 165 abstained.
"I am very pleased that Parliament has followed my
recommendation to reject ACTA" said rapporteur David Martin
(S&D, UK), after the vote, reiterating his concerns that
the treaty is too vague, open to misinterpretation and
could therefore jeopardise citizens' liberties. However, he
also stressed the need to find alternative ways to protect
intellectual property in the EU, as the "raw material of
the EU economy".
The EPP's key ACTA advocate, Christofer Fjellner (EPP, SE),
asked before the vote that Parliament should delay its
final vote until the European Court of Justice has ruled on
whether ACTA is compatible with the EU treaties. However,
when a majority of MEPs rejected this request, a
substantial minority responded by abstaining in the vote on
While debating whether to give its consent to ACTA,
the European Parliament experienced unprecedented direct lobbying by
thousands of EU citizens who called on it to reject ACTA,
in street demonstrations, e-mails to MEPs and calls to
their offices. Parliament also received a petition, signed
by 2.8 million citizens worldwide, urging it to reject the
ACTA was negotiated by the EU and its member states, the
US, Australia, Canada, Japan, Mexico, Morocco, New Zealand,
Singapore, South Korea and Switzerland to improve the
enforcement of anti-counterfeiting law internationally.
Wednesday's vote means that neither the EU nor its
individual member states can join the agreement.