What were Parliament’s options? 


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Parliament had previously asked the Commission to make ACTA documents public and enhance MEPs’ role in negotiating the contents. Once the final version of ACTA was agreed, Parliament could not alter it, but only approve or block it.

In the event, Parliament declined to give its consent to ACTA, which means the entire EU stays out of the agreement.

Three other scenarios were possible:

1. Parliament could have given its consent. The Council would then have taken a decision to conclude the agreement. In this case all member states would still have had to ratify for the agreement to come into force.

2. Parliament could have refrained from replying. Legally, there was no deadline for a response. 

3. Parliament could have referred ACTA to the European Court of Justice (ECJ). If it had done so, then the vote on Parliament's consent would have been postponed until the Court had delivered its opinion.  

The European Commission announced on 22 February that it intended to refer ACTA to the ECJ, in order "to assess whether ACTA is incompatible - in any way - with the EU's fundamental rights and freedoms".