MEP David Martin (S&D, UK), who is steering the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) through the European Parliament, welcomed today's decision by the European Commission to ask the European Court of Justice to rule on whether ACTA would be compatible with EU law, and in particular with fundamental rights and freedoms enshrined in the EU Treaty.
"Trade Commissioner Karel de Gucht today admitted that there are still many question marks about ACTA and what the implementation of the agreement, as it stands, would mean for citizens and for the freedom of the internet.
"The Parliament has been calling for more clarity for a long time, and we already requested legal opinions from several committees in the European Parliament. Now this ruling will be a good guarantee for the impact on fundamental rights.
"We will wait for the ECJ ruling before we draw conclusions, but an open political debate in the European Parliament is also necessary on the measures foreseen by ACTA.
"We must guarantee a good balance between intellectual property rights, which are fundamental for the European economy and job creation, and individual freedoms."
Meanwhile, Parliament will continue its scrutiny of the agreement. The first discussion in Parliament's International Trade Committee, the lead committee on ACTA, will take place on 29 February from 17-18:30. On 1 March there will be a hearing in which MEPs, academics, civil society bodies and EU officials will discuss ACTA's possible merits and disadvantages. A press conference will be held after the workshop.
The debate in the International Trade Committee and the hearing can be followed live on EP Live.