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Court of Justice to rule on ACTA’s compatibility with EU fundamental rights

EUROPEAN UNION - LEGISLATION UPDATE

The European Commission believes that the ACTA does not interfere with the rights and freedoms of EU citizens, but will request an opinion from the Court of Justice of the European Union to dispel any possible doubts.

Is the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) in any way incompatible with the fundamental rights and freedoms of the European Union (EU)? The Court of Justice of the European Union (EUCJ) will be asked to answer that question, with reference in particular to whether the ACTA’s ratification by the EU might harm its citizens’ rights to freedom of expression and information or data protection, and the right to property in the case of intellectual property. 

The decision to refer the ACTA to the EUCJ was announced on 22 February 2012 by European Commissioner Karel De Gucht.

The ACTA has already been signed by the EU and by 22 of its 27 member states, but needs to be ratified both by the EU, which entails approval of the agreement’s text by the European Parliament, and by individual member states. 

The EU’s official stand is that the ACTA is fully in line with the European Union’s high standards and does not interfere in citizens’ freedoms; it does not require any changes to current EU legislation, but concerns procedures and measures to enforce existing rights and to act against large scale infringements at borders;  EU citizens will benefit from the ACTA because it will help protect Europe’s intellectual property rights. However, the Commission believes that an independent opinion from the EU’s highest court will help European citizens, the National Parliaments and the European Parliament to base the debate concerning the ACTA on solid facts, not “misinformation or rumours”. 

For further information:

Download the full text of the ACTA (.pdf, 168 K)