Statement on ACTA (Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement)
This piece of legislation which is being proposed and led by the European Commission will be opposed by all UKIP MEPs when it is voted on in the European Parliament.
UKIP do not want the EU making decisions on behalf of the UK and in this case it is even more pertinent given that this multilateral agreement would never be passed through national governments and a supranational level gives it a greater chance of being passed than if it were passed through accountable parliaments.
ACTA would create an international legal framework and supporters have claimed it is required to combat counterfeit drugs and goods and pirated material.
However civil society groups and developing countries were excludes from the discussions during the drawing up of the legislation. Developing countries and many international humanitarian and welfare organisations are concerned about the impact of ACTA on life saving drugs in the developing world whilst civil liberties groups insist that ACTA will weaken fundamental liberties and freedom of expression.
The liability of Internet Service Providers is also a reason why UKIP could not support the legislation in much the same way as libel laws in the UK, where newsagents were liable for the sale of newspapers or magazines if they were found to contain defamatory material restricted freedom of speech.
Claims that UKIP have supported ACTA are grossly misleading. UKIP voted against a ‘motion for resolution’ in the European Parliament which is non legislative and non binding.
Furthermore, the reason UKIP voted against the motion was because it asked the Commission to continue negotiating the agreement, something which UKIP is opposed to. We did not support this as we did not support legitimising unelected bureaucrats negotiating matters which will affect Britain, hidden away behind closed doors.
Whilst we understand that there needs to be profits made by companies such as those who make video games and for research and development we do not feel this piece of legislation is the answer.