7 civil society groups ask for European Parliament transparency on ACTA

November 17, 2011
By Ante

From: Raegan MacDonald
Sent: 17 November 2011 10:43
Subject: Need for INTA Transparency on ACTA

Dear INTA Committee Member,

Please find attached and below a letter from civil society — including digital rights, access to medicines, free software and human rights organisations — regarding the INTA meeting on 23 November, at which an unpublished Opinion of the European Parliament Legal Service on ACTA will be discussed in-camera.

I am happy to discuss this particular meeting and the ACTA process more generally, so please do not hesitate to contact me directly at [TELEPHONE NUMBER] or by email at [EMAIL ADDRESS].

Best regards,
-Raegan MacDonald

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Dear Members of the Committee on International Trade,

The undersigned signatories of this letter are a group of international civil society organisations. We are extremely concerned and disappointed by the INTA Committee’s repeated insistence on keeping the deliberations around Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) hidden from the public.

According to your Committee’s website,1 there will be a meeting on 23 November at 09h00 at which an unpublished Opinion of the European Parliament Legal Service on ACTA will be discussed, in-camera. This lack of transparency is a long way from the legitimate expectations of citizens, in light of how the Parliament acted in the past. The current non-transparent approach is very different from the March 2010 position taken by the European Parliament which called on the Commission to “immediately make all documents related to the ongoing international negotiations on ACTA publicly available.”

This lack of transparency around a trade agreement which would undoubtedly affect all European citizens is in contravention with the guidance provided by Article 1 of the Treaty of the European Union. Given the implications of this plurilateral agreement to fundamental rights, international trade, access to medicines, innovation, and the integrity of the global internet,2 these conversations cannot be hidden from the public. In light of the Turco Case3 and the Committee’s obligations under Article 15 of the TFEU, we strongly object to this discussion being held in-camera.

As a first step to creating greater transparency around discussions and the eventual consent procedure on ACTA, the signatories of this letter urge the INTA Committee to make the meeting where the Legal Service Opinion on ACTA will be discussed open to the public.

Access
European Digital Rights (EDRi)
Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure (FFII)
Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE)
Health GAP (Global Access Project)
Oxfam
Transatlantic Consumer Dialogue (TACD)

1 http://www.europarl.europa.eu/activities/committees/calendarCom.do?language=EN&body=INTA
2 https://www.accessnow.org/policy-activism/press-blog/access-acta-overview-anti-counterfeiting-trade-agreement
3 http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=CELEX:62005J0039:EN:HTML

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Source: http://lists.act-on-acta.eu/pipermail/hub/2011-November/000058.html

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