A now very self-confident Trade Committee INTA of the European Parliament cratered the European top ACTA negotiator Luc Devigne from the Commission DG Trade (Wed 24 Feb 2010). Devigne took the interesting legal position that only their “EU negotiation position” has to reflect the acquis, not the scope of the ACTA negotiations as a whole. In particular, there is are no adopted criminal sanctions as part of the “acquis communautaire”, yet. Devigne previously took a maximalist position and said that it was upon member states to limit competences of the negotiations. The “Acquis Communautaire” is the corpus of law harmonized by the EU, and in the field of criminal law there are strong objections of member states to harmonize national criminal laws on the EU level. So while ACTA negotiations comprise criminal measures there are no harmonized criminal measures in the EU, thus formally the Commission lacks competence. It is a “technical” surprise to me, that the Council seems to believe that participation of few particular member states in the negotiations is a functional workaround. Unfortunately the Council refused to disclose the negotiation mandate of the Commission.
- Short introduction
Luc Devigne, Commission DG Trade
- improve the enforcement
- 11 trading partners
- enforcement NOT substantive
- not target non-commercial private individual
- not about internet termination and three strikes: clearly not the case (rem: Devigne himself put these French measures into the ACTA debate)
- Third stakeholder session
Daniel Caspary, Conservatives
- We don’t get enough information
- Where is the European interest (as opposed to the United States)?
- We don’t have EU level criminal law, so how can it be negotiated?
- Post Lisbon Parliament of Equal Footing -> member represented
Bernd Lange, Socdem
- Lisbon treaty: what happens? Insufficient level of information? Parliament involved?
- De Gucht promise. Interinstitutional agreement?
- Where is the info? Transparency?
- Restriction use on the internet discussed under ACTA.
- New Zealand leak
- Can Com guarantee that regarding you won’t take the same approach as in the Telecom package.
- Internet “free access” should be the principle
- Enforcement, not … — guarantee needed that we don’t have to change the acquis.
- Transparency lack –> suspicion
- Summary published, but it is rather a sketch
- Expect Commission to join the call for transparency.
Catherine Bearder, ALDE
- Secrecy concerns
- Consolidated negotiated text, deadline for comments, deadline 12 March, but we haven’t seen it.
- Lesson from SWIFT
- When are we are going to see the text, please?
Syed Kamall, ECK
- We all see importance of IPR, different positions
- How affect civilian and border control
- non-physical products.
- transparency, vacuum does not help, access to documents.
- unintended consequences of legislation
- “better regulation”, we want an “impact assessment”.
Carl Schlyter, Greens
- Why IPR criminal measures? Why not criminal on environment??
- How can you be sure that we don’t have to change the law.
- Crime to record movie screenings?
- Crime to remove interoperability on DRM content?
- Does the agreement say, countries may exclude or shall exclude?
- If you are suspected of rights breaches…
- Gets right holder access to infringing items? What effects on business espionage?
- Disable content access without prior to court ruling?
Luc Devigne, Commission DG Trade
- Industry EU/US interests: All IP right benefits the EU industries. All industries benefit, no national differences. (rem: There should be national differences, this is e.g. a base for TRIPS “trade-related” provisions. Devigne basically makes a case that ACTA is not within his trade portfolio, and reveals his simplistic “maximalist” mindset)
- International negotiations: parties around the table argue that their negotiations position should not get revealed. (rem: EU is governed by Art 15 TFUE citizen’s access rights but uses “international affairs” exceptions, media leaks claim that European participants denied the US call for more transparency, all negotiating parties seem to blame domestically the others for the lack of transparency)
- Stricly followed the rules, new rules negotiated
- Weird, lobbyists have document: We don’t share documents with lobbyists.
- Full respect: what is not in the Acquis will not be in the EU position
- We have de minimis rules in our position
- Criminal sanctions not harmonized. This is why they will not go beyond the acquis(???)
- Past informations
- We are asked about things which don’t exist. We cannot give what is not existing.
- We are not going beyond any Acquis and fundamental rights
Carl Schlyter, Greens (angry)
- Please answer my concrete questions.
- YES or NO.
Daniel Caspary, EVP
- I agree with the previous speaker.
- To what extent the seven Member states were involved.
- Parliament disadvantaged.
- Level of principles
Luc Devigne, Commission
- Don’t beyond the Acquis. “shall”, this is EU position of course. Cannot comment on content of agreement.
- Role of the parliament : over all position
What are the member states doing?
- “They attend.”
David Martin, Labour
- I also asked a specific question
- discussed with the member states, not a consensus yet at the ACTA table.
Carl Schlyter, Greens
- Point of order: Next time I would like to invite the Commissioner himself, because totally in conflict with information I got from the Commission.
- Conflict between Commissioner and his staff