The agreement is at risk of allowing internet providers to violate Internet privacy and would restrict open discourse. There are concerns that it would also limit the access to generic medicine. This proposal has been negotiated behind closed doors since 2007.
PES President Sergei Stanishev has called on the European Parliament to vote against the proposal in June. He noted that; “the ACTA proposal is wrong in both content and process. It does not reflect the interest of citizens but the interests of big corporations and profit margins: it confers on them alarmingly broad powers to punish and restrict. We cannot allow this legislation to privatize Internet governance and limit fundamental freedoms. Intellectual property rights must be guaranteed, but not at the expense of the rights of the citizens. The statement adopted at the PES Presidency on Thursday 9 February commits the PES to a long term campaign to remove the stated risks from the draft”.
Mr. Stanishev added that; “the PES does not support the type of extreme censorship as proposed by ACTA, and regrets that the conservative majority in the European Parliament have shut down any opportunity to conduct a clear and fair debate at social and political level”.
PES Secretary General Philip Cordery stated: “ACTA will have a huge impact on the lives of the citizens and, yet the European Commission has discussed the text in absolute secrecy. This is unacceptable. Any debate related to ACTA must be transparent, publicly accountable and faithful to our most democratic values”.
ACTA is set to be voted on by the European Parliament in June and ratified at national level. In the meantime, a multitudinous, EU-wide demonstration against the agreement will take place this Saturday. The online petition calling for the rejection of ACTA has been endorsed by almost two million signatures. Over 200 events are planned for Saturday.
* PES declaration on ACTA - please note that according to art 17.6 of PES statutes, SPÖ Austria, SD Denmark, SDP Finland and Labour Party (UK) have declared themselves not to be bound by the decision