EU ACTA negotiators’ notes still secret

Pedro Velasco Martins, EU ACTA negotiator, today answered FFII’s 30 December 2010 questions on the initialling of ACTA. ACTA was initialed on 25 November 2010, through an electronic procedure. The Commission chief-negotiator initialled all the pages of the text, including the criminal measures.

The Commission added negotiators’ notes in the course of the negotiations. The EU has not decided yet whether it will publish its negotiators’ notes. Negotiators’ notes may influence the interpretation of ACTA. According to the Commission ACTA will fall under the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties. The FFII believes the notes should be published.

The EU Council Presidency initialed ACTA as well, didn’t add negotiator’s notes. Both the Commission and Council seem to disregard that the EU may not be competent to include the criminal measures.

Initialling ACTA didn’t fall under the secrecy agreement. “Initialling ACTA is not a secret. Both the Council and the European Parliament and the EP were duly informed.” One could ask if initialling isn’t a secret, why was the Parliament informed in a confidential communication, and not in an open communication?

Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, Singapore, South Korea, United States, Japan, Morocco and Switzerland initialed ACTA as well.

Pedro Velasco Martins’ email:

Regarding your information request under reference, please find below DG Trade’s reply:

As a general remark to your questions below, we point out that that initialling of an agreement is an act of a purely administrative nature, whereby negotiators establish that the negotiations are concluded. It has no legal consequences as such. Parties will be legally bound by ACTA only when they will have undergone the required internal adoption procedures. In the EU this will include the signature by the Council and the consent by the European Parliament.

1. When will the Commission initial ACTA?

The European Union initialled ACTA on 25 November 2010

2. Did the Commission already initial ACTA?

See 1. above.

3. When did the Commission initial ACTA?

See 1. above.

4. Which other parties initialled ACTA as well?

Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, Singapore, South Korea, United States, Japan, Morocco, Switzerland.

5. The initialling of the EU – Korea free trade agreement was a PR moment, why not the initialling of ACTA?

The ACTA Parties decided to initial the agreement through an electronic procedure, i.e. without having the chief negotiators to meet in person.

6. Does initialling ACTA fall under the secrecy agreement?

Initialling ACTA is not a secret. Both the Council and the European Parliament and the EP were duly informed.

7. Did the Commission initial ACTA including the criminal measures?

The Commission chief-negotiator initialled all the pages of the text.

8. Did the Commission add negotiator’s notes?

The Commission added negotiators’ notes in the course of the negotiations.

9. Will the parties publish the negotiator’s notes?

The EU has not decided yet whether it will publish its negotiators’ notes.

10. Did the Presidency initial ACTA as well?

Yes.

11. Did the Presidency add negotiator’s notes?

No.

Yours sincerely,

Pedro Velasco Martins

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