[A2k] European Parliament releases "nonexistent" coordinators’ minutes on ACTA
ante at ffii.org
Tue Nov 1 14:49:35 PDT 2011
European Parliament releases "nonexistent" coordinators’ minutes on ACTA
November 1, 2011
The European Parliament’s register released the International Trade (INTA)
committee’s coordinators’ minutes on ACTA (Anti-Counterfeiting Trade
Agreement). Prior to the release, the Parliament’s services denied the
existence of these minutes four times. Only after the FFII provided proof that
the documents do exist, the Parliament released them. The minutes document
On 21 June 2011, the coordinators of the INTA committee decided to ask the
Parliament’s legal service an opinion on ACTA. (pdf) This decision was illegal
for two reasons. First, the ACTA text had already been published, the
discussion should have taken place in public. Second, coordinators can prepare
decisions, not take them.
The INTA committee’s Chairman, Mr Moreira, sent a letter to the legal service.
In the letter, he left out a question on safeguards against disproportional
criminalisation. While known in Parliament, no Member took action to solve
On 8 July, the FFII requested both the Chairman’s letter and the coordinators’
minutes. The Parliament’s services denied the existence of the minutes four
On Friday 23 September, Member of Parliament Carl Schlyter (Greens / EFA)
wrote a letter to the Chairman of the INTA committee about the missing
question. He referred to the coordinators’ minutes and mentioned the file name.
The INTA Chairman sent a second letter to the legal service. (pdf)
On 5 October, in an email to the INTA committee’s secretariat, the FFII
referred to MEP Schlyter’s letter, and argued that since the ACTA text had
already been published, the discussion should have taken place in public. The
FFII also stated that EU law does not provide a possibility to deny or
obfuscate the existence of documents. The FFII urged the secretariats to
record all existing documents in one of the EP document management systems, so
that the register can provide correct information from the start.
The FFII added: "The conclusion seems justified that the European Parliament
violated the Rules of Procedure, the Treaties and the Charter of Fundamental
Rights of the European Union."
On 25 October, the register released the minutes.
The legal service’s opinion on ACTA is ready, but confidential. The
confidentiality seems a violation of the European Court of Justice case law,
especially the Turco case.
The FFII requested the legal service’s opinion on ACTA. A better solution may
be to withdraw the opinion, since it is based on an illegal decision. The INTA
committee can then ask, after a public discussion, for a public legal
service’s opinion on ACTA. 500 Million Europeans, and billions abroad, are
entitled to full transparency.
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