The ACTA negotiators from the Commission came to the European Parliament today, to inform the Parliament about what happened in the last round of negotiations in Luzern.
However, the meeting where the information was to be given was declared ”in camera”, i.e.: closed to the public.
At the meeting, I asked if this meant that there were restrictions on how the information given could be used and spread. At first the Commission seemed unwilling to answer this question with a straight yes or no, but after I had repeated the question a number of times, they finally came out and said that I would not be allowed to spread the information given.
I then left the meeting, since I am not prepared to accept information given under such conditions in this particular case.
There is no sensible reason why the ACTA negotiations should be carried out in secret, or why Members of the European Parliament should not be allowed to discuss information about ACTA with their constituents.
The ACTA agreement is about introducing stricter legislation to enforce intellectual property rights such as copyright and patents. I find the lack of transparency surrounding these negotiations completely unacceptable.
In a democracy, new laws should be made by the elected representatives after an open public debate. They should not be negotiated behind closed doors by unelected officials at the Commission, in an attempt to keep the citizens out of the process until it is too late.
According Article 218(10) of the Lisbon Treaty, the Commission has a duty to keep the European Parliament ”immediately and fully informed at all stages of the procedure”.
To give oral information in a closed meeting, with no documents at all handed out, hardly qualifies as keeping the Parliament ”fully informed”.
It is obvious that the Commission has no intention of living up to its obligations under the Treaty when it comes to informing the Parliament.
That is disgraceful.
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