While the European Court of Justice decides if ACTA complies with existing EU rights and regulations, the European Parliament must still decide whether or not to ratify the controversial agreement. This infographic sets out the process for the coming months.
Will the European Parliament prove to be the last stand for the ACTA treaty? In Brussels a process has begun that will eventually lead to the ratification, or not, of the treaty. While each member state has the right to suspend ratification, as many have already done, the EU must await the Parliament’s opinion before signing up to it.
The debate is likely to be lively, with many longstanding opponents of the treaty amongst the MEPs. These include Sandrine Bélier, Catherine Trautmann, Marietje Schaake and the recently resigned rapporteur for the treaty, Kader Arif.
Meanwhile, the majority group within the Parliament, the European People’s Party, has described ACTA as a “protective shield for European industry.”
The European Commission and the European Council, the executive and strategic arms of the EU, have already approved ACTA. On February 22 the Commission referred the agreement to the European Court of Justice for legal guidance on whether it is compatible with existing treaties, the acquis communautaire and the European Charter of Fundamental Rights. This is expected to delay the European Parliament’s vote on ACTA until around September.
In the meantime a complex process is underway, involving multiple reports, discussions, debates, amendments and votes involving various parliamentary committees. OWNI, in partnership with La Quadrature du Net, has tried to lay out that process as clearly as possible in the infographic below.