January 12, 2011

Where to get the detailed response to Question E-8847/10

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ACTA Parliament question E-8847 from MEP Marietje Schaakes is still not answered, even if Commission refers to it. E-8294 De Gucht answer to MEP Keller, excerpt:

As the Commission has explained in its detailed response to Question E-8847/10 the Commission has carefully ensured, at every step of the negotiations, respect for Article 15 TFEU in particular by providing regular information to civil society and access to documents on the basis of the relevant legislation. Since the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon, the Commission has ensured that the results of the negotiations are in line with the general principles governing external relations, on the basis of Article 205 TFEU, which in turn refers to Chapter I of Title V of the Treaty on European Union (which includes Article 21 TEU). The Commission participates in the work of the European Commission for Democracy through Law (the “Venice Commission”) which is a consultative body but fails to see how ACTA would affect this work.

Where is the “detailled response” to Marietje Schaake’s question? The Dutch MEP is not aware of it. Does De Gucht have something to hide? Will Pedro Velasco-Martins carry along a printed copy of the answer for participants of his stakeholder meeting on ACTA to demonstrate their unprecedented openness?

Here is the E-8847 question of MEP Schaake where the answer dispappeared

Parliamentary questions
28 October 2010
Question for written answer
to the Commission
Rule 117
Marietje Schaake (ALDE)

Subject: ACTA — a law enforcement treaty?

There is public concern worldwide about the lack of formal transparency in the ACTA negotiation process, such as illustrated in the article ‘ACTA Guide, Part Three: Transparency and ACTA Secrecy’, by Professor Michael Geist (see http://www.michaelgeist.ca/content/view/4737/125/). Other articles and open letters can be found at the following shortened addresses: http://bit.ly/4EdMKK, http://bit.ly/4CJv2n, http://bit.ly/bdUGlx and http://bit.ly/aQDUO2.

Parliament has repeatedly asked the Commission for transparency in the ACTA negotiations, but to no avail.

1. Does the Commission accept that an agreement which contains specific and extensive civil and criminal law enforcement measures does not qualify as a trade agreement, but as a law enforcement treaty? If not, why not?

2. Does it agree that the classification of ACTA as a trade agreement has enabled the parties to seek non-transparent negotiations? If not, why not?

3. Is it willing to contest the classification of ACTA as a trade agreement, on the grounds that it in fact seeks to regulate illegal and criminal activities? If not, why not?

4. Can it explain the legal status of the document ‘Maintaining Confidentiality of Documents’, which can be found at http://bit.ly/b23KAc? Does the Commission’s negotiating mandate authorise it to agree to the conditions set out in this document? Is it bound by the language used in this document, for example the opening sentence: ‘First, we agree that documents relating to the proposed Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) will be held in confidence’? Did it sign this document?

5. Does it agree that by complying with other negotiating parties’ demands for non-transparency, it has compromised the rules and regulations on access to information and transparency in the European Union, as laid down in the Lisbon Treaty and in Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001(1)? If not, why not?

(1) OJ L 145, 31.5.2001, p. 43.

Isn’t it ironic?

Parliament has repeatedly asked the Commission for transparency in the ACTA negotiations, but to no avail.