25 February 2010

Important Leaked Document on ACTA

An important document about ACTA has been leaked. It's in Dutch, but Jan Wildeboer has kindly provided a translation. It's worth reading all of it, since it gives one of the best - and frankest - reports on what's going on, at least for certain aspects of ACTA.

In the interests of fairness I have to pick out the follow sections on transparency:

POL [Poland], VK [United Kingdom], OOS [Austria], NL [Netherlands], FIN [Finland], IER [Ireland], HON [Hungary], EST [Estonia], ZWE [Sweden] were in favour of more transparency.

FRA [France] did not object against full disclosure if that would be the consensus, but did have concerns about the U.S. position.

ITA [Italy] sided along with France, was also concerned about impacts on free trade agreements, noted that even if plurilateral setting the precedent of ACTA would in principle be adequate closure. DK agreed with ITA and put reserve study status on the documents.

HON [Hungary] however opposed this with the position that the treatment of ACTA documents would be much more logical to compare with the documents of multilateral negotiations.

And more specifically:

UK once again declared its support for full disclosure of the documents, noted the current position [of secrecy] in EU is hard to keep national parliaments (European Parliament), citizens and civil society should be informed, there was nothing to hide.

UK insisted Cie should take a pro-active stance and should try to convince other parties of the need to be transparent.

So, whatever its undoubted faults in other respects, the UK government seems to be trying to do the right thing as far as transparency is concerned, and it deserves kudos for that. Interesting, too, to see that the main hold-out seems to be Hungary, which surprised me given its positive attitude to open source.

Good to see that more and more countries are backing transparency - and that more and leaks are providing it by other routes.

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