Following the announcement that the European Parliament would be voting on the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) during June without consulting the European Court of Justice to review the legislation, there has been progress in trying to delay the bill, with the trade agreement sure to hinder Internet freedom substantially. However, now, ACTA has suffered an even more major setback with the European Parliament’s rapporteur on ACTA announcing he will recommend the region’s parliament votes against the trade agreement.

Socialist bloc lawmaker David Martin, who is responsible for guiding ACTA throughout the European Parliament, stated his strong opposition against ACTA following a public debate which saw Internet groups, NGOs, industry representatives and unions being present.

The statement from the European Parliament’s rapporteur reads:

David Martin, the European Parliament’s rapporteur on the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), today announced that he will recommend that Parliament votes against this controversial trade agreement because it does not provide enough guarantees for citizens.

Mr Martin made this announcement at the end of a public debate organised by the S&D Group in the European Parliament with representatives of industry, NGOs, unions, internet groups and citizens concerned about the effects of implementing ACTA.

Martin is confident enough in getting the trade agreement failed by stating the European Parliament will reject it:

Today’s conference has confirmed my suspicion that ACTA raises more fears than hopes. What it delivers in terms of important intellectual property rights is diminished by potential threats to civil liberties and internet freedom. When the European Parliament rejects ACTA, the Commission must work to find other ways to defend European intellectual property in the global marketplace.

The president of the S&D Group – the parliament’s second largest bloc after the conservative European People’s Party - European MP Hannes Swoboda, meanwhile, backed Martin’s statement:

Next week, at our upcoming group meeting, I will recommend to all Socialists and Democrats to reject ACTA. It will be important to find a way to solve standing problems through a transparent process and in a way whereby freedoms of Internet users will not be further restricted.

So, it seems the entire left-wing bloc within the European Parliament will most definitely vote against ACTA upon its ratification stages in the coming months. If the strong opposition from some of the major parties within the European Parliament is followed by others, ACTA will surely ultimately be failed by the other parties involved.

As has been noticed by authorities, action should still be taken whilst it can: