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September 24, 2021

Economy Ministry to hold public consultations on ACTA

The Government announced on Monday evening that the Economy Ministry would initiate public consultations on the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), a document which cannot be enforced before several stages, including its ratification in Parliament, and which will not modify the copyright law.

“Romania’s signing of this agreement is not tantamount to its enforcement, it is merely a stage. The agreement will only come into force after several stages are covered, first and foremost the European Parliament should give its stamp of agreement, which we estimate will occur sometime this summer, then procedures to ratify the agreement in the national parliaments will kick off. Independently and concomitantly, the agreement has to be adopted by the European Union Council. If, in the course of consultations with the civil society and during debates in Parliament, we reach the conclusion this agreement should not be ratified, it won’t be ratified,” the spokesperson for the Executive, Ioana Muntean, stated, according to Mediafax.

According to the latter, negotiations officially started in 2008 and the text was publicly presented in November 2010, in four public conferences organized by the European Commission. The spokesperson for the Cabinet further argued that the respective agreement would not encroach on Internet users’ personal liberties and would not introduce additional measures to monitor Internet traffic, blocking only certain websites. When asked by the press how the agreement would be applied if the existing legislation is not modified, Muntean argued that the document stipulated a closer collaboration between all the signatories of the agreement towards protecting intellectual property rights and counteracting the traffic of counterfeit goods. When asked explicitly whether it was true that email addresses would be tracked and the users’ private correspondence would be copied, the government official replied in the negative. “No, under the existing legislation, such operations can be initiated if a complaint deemed warranted is failed, if the Prosecutor’s Office applies for a warrant and receives it, then it can request information from the Internet provider and a criminal action can be initiated, but ACTA will not modify existing regulations,” Muntean argued.

According to Muntean, the agreement should have been signed by the Romanian ambassador to Japan but, as the latter had yet to reach his post, it was signed on Romania’s behalf by the Tokyo embassy’s charge d’affaires, granted prerogatives to do so by a government memorandum.

Representatives of the European Union and of 22 EU member states signed last Thursday in Tokyo the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), which cannot be enforced, however, without the European Parliament’s stamp of approval. The Social-Democrat Party (PSD) leader Victor Ponta argued that the government had made a mistake in signing ACTA without a prior public debate and stated that a potential Cabinet led by the Social-Liberal Union (USL) would annul ACTA.

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