ACTA: The Final 24 Hours – What's The Fuss, Now?

In less than 24 hours, we will know whether ACTA was defeated in the European Parliament, or whether we’re not sure yet whether it’s been defeated. Yes, that’s one of the oddities of the situation: not a single Member of European Parliament is asking for ACTA to actually be ratified. Here’s what the chessboard looks like in the last 24 hours before showdown.

The final debate of ACTA is happening now in the European Parliament. The positions have been locked for some time; nothing is expected to change today. The five committees who have recommended a rejection basically take turns condemning it as a piece of shit from all kinds of angles.

Tomorrow Wednesday, in the voting block between 12 noon and 14:00, the European Parliament will vote on ACTA. There are two options – reject it now, or postpone the vote until a later time. Yes, you read that right.

It is quite telling of the level of success by the citizens that not one single Member of European Parliament submits a motion for ACTA to actually be ratified at this time. There are only two options on the table: reject ACTA or postpone the vote until after the European Court of Justice has given its opinion on whether ACTA is legal or not.

This is a stalling tactic. It’s easy to point at two-facedness here: the ACTA opponents fought for years to have ACTA tried in the European Court of Justice, and the proponents said at that time that it wasn’t necessary. Now that the public opinion has turned against ACTA, these opinions have traded places: it’s now the opponents who want to kill it with fire in Parliament by getting to the final vote, whereas the proponents of ACTA are trying to stall by waiting for the outcome of the European Court of Justice.

In other words, the losing side is trying to buy time to get the public opinion, but the sides have traded places in the past six months. Typical political play, really. But there’s more to it.

ACTA is a legal and a political decision. If ACTA is declared legal, there’s still a political decision to be made whether the treaty is desirable or not. If the treaty isn’t considered politically desirable, it doesn’t matter whether it’s legal or not – it has to pass both tests to be ratified.

Thus, it is easy to see why the ACTA opponents tried to get ACTA tried for legality before it was passed politically. But there is no such logic in the proponents testing for legality before it is rejected. If it is politically rejected, it doesn’t matter if the court said it was legal or illegal; that only matters if ACTA is to be ratified.

Thus, it is clearer than ever that the EPP and ECR party groups – Christian Democrats and conservatives, mostly – who are fighting for ACTA are just stalling for time, in hope that lobbying efforts can penetrate to turn the opposition enough. (The Polish MEPs in EPP/ECR are notable exceptions, who vote against ACTA.) The point man of this effort to stall is the Swedish Christofer Fjellner of the EPP.

The EPP is aided in this by the European Commission, which is the European Union’s executive branch. The responsible commissioner for ACTA, Karel de Gucht, has put tons of effort into making the Europarl vote his way. This has made large parts of Parliament furious over the commissioner’s disrespect for Parliament and democracy alike.

In 24 hours, we will know if MEP Fjellner or the citizens of the world won this battle – if we get locked down in chains of monopolies, or if we can celebrate having rejected corporate rule yet once more. The margins look like they’re on the side of ACTA rejection, but it’s impossible to be sure in this high-intensity political battle. Do mail the MEPs if you haven’t already.

See also Glyn Moody – Defeating ACTA: Now or Never.

Rick Falkvinge

Rick is the founder of the first Pirate Party and a low-altitude motorcycle pilot. He lives on Alexanderplatz in Berlin, Germany, roasts his own coffee, and as of right now (2019-2020) is taking a little break.


  1. Zak

    I sent a mass email a couple days ago, besides all the “out of office” auto replies, it has been 100% against ACTA.

    1. Björn Persson

      That’s because those MEPs who are for ACTA rarely reply to email about it.


      I mailed all MEPS’s a few days ago and have separately targeted some of them in further mails. All who responded have confirmed they will vote against ACTA, except for Ashley Fox, who sent a long-winded reply to tell me his “current thinking” – I’m assuming that means he’ll vote ‘yes’. I’ve just sent 1 final mail to the Conservatives and the Christian Democrats, and fingers crossed enough will have a ‘road to Damascus’ moment and cast their vote for internet freedom. #stopacta

  2. Björn Persson

    Can we be entirely sure that ACTA is dead if it’s rejected tomorrow? Karel De Gucht has threatened that even if ACTA is rejected now, he will submit it to the EU Parliament again after the court has given its opinion. Does anyone know whether the rules actually allow that?

    1. Mårten

      To cite MEP Carl Schlyter from the debate today: “I would like to caution that the bad parts of ACTA will rise again like monsters in bad zombie movies.” (my translation) 🙂 🙁

    2. Anyone

      ACTA will be dead, yes
      but I’m sure another acronym is already in the works

      those bribes won’t pay themselves

  3. […] Falkvinge skriver mycket mer om processen som återstår gällande ACTA. Det är riktigt läsvärt för alla ACTA-intresserade. Och Henrik […]

  4. Daniel

    I finally used your mail alias and sent a short letter to all the MEPs. Let’s hope that ACTA gets totally demolished in the vote. That would be fun.

  5. Masa

    I wake up early yesterday and Emailed Finnish MEPs about ACTA. Surprise was huge when none of them answered =)
    At least I tried to fight evil, lets see what will happen…

  6. Pedro

    Mr Falkvinge, since i don’t have a twitter account to let you know, i hope you notice this comment before it starts. I’m watching/hearing the vote in the links below:

  7. […] on Sharen mit:TwitterFacebookTumblrPinterestEmailMoreLinkedInLike this:LikeBe the first to like […]

  8. jimbo

    now ACTA is dead, the EU Commission are trying to use IPRED instead. they are seeking to add to it the parts of ACTA that are not already in IPRED but will have the same effect. when is something going to be done at EU level to stop the introduction of bills/laws/treaties that protect big business but do so to the detriment of the people, taking away or at least undermining fundamental human rights, freedoms and privacy’s that the EU says it is so concerned about and wants to preserve at all costs? if the concerns the EU has are like those that say ‘website blocking is not the EU way’ but then do nothing when individual member states go ahead and block websites, we are on a loser!!

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