The MEP F. Castex asked about the public access to ACTA preparatory documents. By international standards access to negotiating documents is required for the interpretation of legal documents in Courts (historical / teleological standard method of interpretation):
Parliamentary questions 14 March 2011 E-002345/2011 Question for written answer to the Commission Rule 117 Françoise Castex (S&D)
Access to the preparatory works of the ACTA Treaty
With regard to the response of 15 December 2010 to my written question on ACTA (P‑9179/2010), I would like to make the following observations.
As the Commission has confirmed, the EU has ratified the Vienna Convention on compliance with international treaties and the ACTA agreement will be applied in accordance with this Convention.
Article 32 of the Vienna Convention refers to the ‘Supplementary means of interpretation’ which require access to ‘supplementary means of interpretation, including the preparatory work of the treaty and the circumstances of its conclusion, in order to confirm the meaning …’ if the text ‘leaves the meaning ambiguous or obscure’.
In accordance with the Vienna Convention I would like to know whether Parliament will have access to the preparatory works of the ACTA Treaty while in the process of formulating an opinion and with sufficient time before Parliament gives its opinion on the Treaty?
Parliamentary questions 20 April 2011 (E-002345/2011) Answer given by Mr De Gucht on behalf of the Commission
Following the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty, precise arrangements were made between the Commission and the Parliament in order to ensure that the Parliament is fully informed, at all stages of trade negotiations, of the evolution of those negotiations, so that at the end, it is able to provide its informed consent to the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA). In the case of the ACTA negotiations, this included the communication to the Parliament of the different versions of the text which were issued after each negotiating round, as well as reports of the negotiating rounds. Additionally, in the numerous Commission replies to oral and written questions and in its replies to two EP Recommendations and one Declaration, there are detailed considerations and explanations about the negotiations at its different stages. These documents constitute the key preparatory work of the treaty and provide detailed information about the circumstances of its conclusion.
In addition to providing these preparatory documents, the Commission services have provided dedicated briefings to interested Members of the European Parliament on all aspects of the negotiations, after the various negotiating rounds and remain available for any additional clarifications deemed necessary.
Of course Castex had a case here. It is unacceptable that the preparatory documents are still not disclosed.