EU Commissioner backs ACTA legal review, eventually

In a statement today, Viviane Reding, Vice-President of the European Commission and EU Commissioner for Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship, outlined a robust position on internet freedom.

In it, she states “for me, blocking the Internet is never an option” and goes onto argue the current  situation “can and must not be changed by the ACTA agreement”.

We have previously highlighted the secretive nature of ACTA and the potentially wide-ranging consequences of passing what is in places a dangerously vague and unclear document.The European Parliament’s rapporteur resigned, calling the process a ‘masqueade’, and protests have led to several European governments backtracking on their commitment to the agreement.

Commissioner Reding concludes by saying “I therefore welcome the intention of several members of the European Parliament to ask the European Court of Justice for a legal opinion to clarify that the ACTA agreement cannot limit freedom of expression and freedom of the Internet.”

While this support is to be welcomed, we can’t help but wonder whether it would have been wise for the EU to get this legal advice before it signed the agreement. And of course Commissioner Reding still fails to explain why Europe needs to sign an agreement that will not require any new laws anyway.