The start of 2010 has been an interesting time in the EU. Where, in stark contrast to most places, we seem to be coming up with good legislation and ideas.
The EU Commission proposes a ban on all commercial fishing of Atlantic bluefin tuna by 2011. Predictably the Japanese are the ones who are protesting most. But you would expect that from a nation that seems to have a policy of making marine wildlife extinct. Release Here.
Since 2000 Israel has enjoyed a special relationship with the EU resulting in exemption of import duties. However the German water filtering company Brita imports good from the occupied west bank, and German customs, seeing the goods were manufactured in illegal settlements denied the company the preferential treatment they expected. This went to the German courts who asked the European Court of Justice for a decision. That decision, came on February 25th and clarified that since settlements in Palestinian territory are illegal under international law that goods from these areas cannot be classified as ‘Made in Israel’ and therefore cannot avail of preferential trade agreements with Israel.
The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) is a treaty that is being negotiated in secret outside of any established framework. No portions of the discussions have been made officially public and from the leaks it is clear that this is treaty is a very bad one. The Lisbon treaty that is now in force contained a provision intended to make the workings of the EU more transparent and to give the Parliament (the elected bit of the EU) more power, that provision required that the Parliament must have full and immediate access to information at all stages of international negotiations. They clearly didn’t have that with the ACTA so the Parliament voted, by 663 to 13, to demand that this information be made available to them. Not only that but they threaten to go to the Court of Justice if that doesn’t happen.
But the MEP’s didn’t stop there. They scupperd any plans of a so called three strike policy being automatically implemented also. And they also have called for investigations into the issue of warrant-less searches of data while crossing EU borders.
The full press release from the Parliament is here.