Anticipation and suspicion. Snake and rabbit go for a stroll. It’s secret what would happen. I found this declassified doc extremely helpful to understand negotiations on the criminal chapter of ACTA. Now for real:
“At the beginning of the meeting, the Justice and Home Affairs Counsellor of DE supported by SE, NL, UK, IT and LUX, deplored that there has been no opportunity for the national experts to examine in depth the draft which has been submitted by the Presidency and expressed the wish that experts on the matter would be given the opportunity in the future to do so. At the same time, these delegations as well as LT and PL entered a general scrutiny reservation on the criminal provisions chapter while the UK delegation announced its intention to table relevant drafting proposals. Delegations deplored furthermore the fact that ACTA documents having the classification RESTREINT UE, were not easily accessible to the delegations, who consequently were notified those documents very late and were not able to prepare themselves at time for the meetings.”
Just an test inspection into ACTA negotiations formerly covered by secrecy. These allegations are pretty serious. Be reminded, the Criminal chapter of ACTA directly corresponded to the yet unadopted IPRED2 directive. The Commission had no competence to negotiate Criminal sanctions (because IPRED2 is not adopted, though the negotiating mandate mentions criminal enforcment which are also directly referenced in the Digital chapter).
After repeated requests MEPs found out that these aspects would be negotiated by the member states themselves, represented via an unclear legal base by the Council presidency which consults a “Friends of the Presidency” group. The negotiations on criminal sanctions are disloyal to the EU ordinary legislative procedure where the European Parliament gets full say thanks to the new Lisbon rules. Apparently the NL delegation was also unaware that the Netherlands Parliament had put a reservation against an IPRED2 harmonisation of criminal laws. How could it support negotiations on the same measures in an even broader process? Due diligence it seems does not get promoted by secrecy.