October 31, 2012 | By Carolina Rossini

European Commissioner Affirms Europe Wants CETA

In an interview with viEUws, the European Commissioner for Trade, Karel De Gucht, affirms that Europe wants to close the Canadian-European Trade Agreement (CETA) by the end of this year—which would have been today, since the European calendar year ends on October 31.1 CETA is a trade agreement designed to strengthen economic ties between Canada and the EU through “free” trade and increased investment. However, hidden within this treaty are intellectual property provisions that were essentially taken word-for-word from ACTA. And just like its close cousins, ACTA, KORUS, and TPP—and other trade agreements that are applauded by the entertainment industry for carrying expansive intellectual property provisions—CETA is being negotiated in secret.

In addition to this announcement, the Commissioner has also tried to reassure the public that the IP language of CETA has moved away from mirroring that of ACTA. When asked about the similarities between the agreements, De Gucht affirmed that the initial text was drafted when Europe had agreed on ACTA at the level of the Council of Ministers.2 Since the European Parliament rejected ACTA in July, De Gucht affirmed that they have “obviously” made changes to the CETA language on IP enforcement. While he continues to affirm that the language contained in ACTA was good, CETA was modified due to political and social pressure.

Commissioner De Gucht recognizes this won’t be an easy task, saying "We should have no illusions, there are still a number of difficult issues to tackle." Of course, EFF’s concern is that in hastily rushing to conclude this agreement, negotiators may still leave in many of the problematic provisions that existed in ACTA to appease the strong influence of private interests that are behind both agreements. EFF will keep a close eye on any announcements on CETA’s conclusion, and determine whether it ends up carrying ACTA’s shadow in its finalized language.

You can watch the 4 minute video of the interview with the Commissioner here. 

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Additional resources

CETA: EU Ditches Criminal Sanctions.... Almost, by EDRI (October 31, 2012) @ http://www.edri.org/CETA_criminal

  • 1. As of the publication of this post, no new news was published by Europe or Canada on CETA.
  • 2. The page "Do not get confused" explains the structure and powers of the Council of Ministers

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