The final vote on ACTA is approaching. Next week, the responsible committee in the European Parliament – International Trade (INTA) – votes on whether to recommend the destructive treaty for adoption or rejection as a whole.
We’re approaching the end-of-level boss fight here, and this is the final skirmish before that happens just around the corner. Lobbies and corporations are ramping up their efforts like crazy. Therefore, we need to provide a counterpoint right now and continuously up until the vote on the floor in the European Parliament in the July 3-5 session.
When you’re on the inside of Parliament, the only directly elected body in the European Union’s decision-making, you can feel this kind of citizens’ pressure very clearly. But you can feel the pressure from other decision-making bodies, too. The Commissioner trying to push ACTA through Parliament, Karel de Gucht, has invited himself to the INTA meeting in order to convince its delegates to vote in favor of ACTA. (This is remarkable in itself, and shows that the Commission regards the European Parliament as its would-be lapdog rather than a respectable body of representatives of 500 million people.)
This has happened so far in the ACTA showdown: Four advisory committees – Legal Affairs, Industry, Development, and Civil Liberties – have voted on what to recommend to INTA, which owns the main recommendation to the European Parliament. The four advisory committees all voted to recommend a rejection of ACTA. Next, INTA will settle on the European Parliament’s main overall recommendation, and then, the European Parliament decides in a final vote.
So, it’s time to mail the INTA members. Right now.
The INTA committee has voted to recommend a rejection of ACTA, by a 19-12 vote. Any mail you send now will arrive AFTER the vote on ACTA. Therefore, do not send any further mails.
Here is a sample letter if you live in Europe – adjust to your liking, but keep it short and readable at a glance:
TITLE: Please reject the ACTA treaty in INTA
Dear MEP on the INTA committee,
As a citizen of [your country], I urge you to reject the ACTA treaty in the INTA vote. As we have already seen in advisory committes, the ACTA treaty is neither good from a Legal Affairs standpoint (JURI), is incompatible with fundamental rights in the Charter (LIBE), is contrary to third-world development (DEVE) as well as appearing contrary to the Digital Agenda to strengthen European IT industries (ITRE).
As for International Trade, you are no doubt aware of the assessment report where it’s clear in numbers that Europe does not gain from stronger copyright or patent protections; the EU27 is already at a net loss of 25 billion USD per year through these exclusive right constructs. Europe gains from weaker protection, not stronger: it cannot possibly be a policy goal by itself for Europe to increase the international trade deficit.
(Data from Directorate General for External Policies’ assessment report of ACTA, page 35.)
Finally, I wish to respectfully remind you that the citizens of Europe remain upset about and vigilant against this treaty, with protests against ACTA being held in over 100 European cities earlier in June, following up on similar earlier protests that were equally Europe-wide.
Accordingly, I urge you to vote in INTA to recommend the European Parliament to withhold its consent to the ACTA treaty.
If you don’t live in Europe, I suggest something along the following lines:
TITLE: Please reject ACTA treaty in INTA
Dear MEP on the INTA committee,
I am a citizen of [your country], and I am following the ACTA process in the European Union closely. You may have heard from negotiators claiming to represent me by name of my country. I wish to make clear that they do not represent me: the drafting of ACTA has not been handled by people I have elected, nor given my consent to. Rather, this has been driven by old and obsolete industries who want ACTA to legislate their place in their market, legislate it against the citizens and entrepreneurs of the world.
In this, I stand with the citizens of Europe who have rallied against the treaty. This is a global and important matter.
I urge you to reject ACTA, not just for the citizens of Europe, but for those of the world, including me. It locks in an old regime of industries and prevents necessary rejuvenation: it is the industries of the 1970s and 1980s that are fighting against the entrepreneurs who would take their place in a market economy. Rather than competing with better products and services, they go this route in desperation. Also, in this fight, the world’s civil liberties are happily sacrificed by the old monopolistic industries, clamoring for more monopolies and harsher enforcement. The payment comes from us all in forms of our fundamental freedoms – not just as citizens, but as builders of the global economy.
ACTA lives or dies globally with the consent of the European Parliament. The world is watching – the next generation of citizens and entrepreneurs is watching. I ask you to vote for the future, rather than the past. Reject ACTA. Recommend the European Parliament to withhold its consent.
INTA is scheduled to vote on ACTA at about 10:00 on June 21, but this can and will change without notice. After that, the European Parliament as a whole adopts or rejects the treaty some time July 3-5. As I’ve written in a previous article, if ACTA is rejected by the European Parliament, it dies globally.
This is the last leg of the marathon. It ain’t over till the fat lady sings.