9 February 2012

ACTA: First Debate In the Bulgarian Parliament

Image: Ministers Traikov and Rashidov talking to each other during the parliamentary hearing on ACTA. By Konstantin Pavlov – Komitata

Bulgaria was one of the 22 member states to the European Union that signed ACTA at a recently organised ceremony of the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Tokyo.

This very act

managed to attract great interest in the public

and to cause a huge societal debate.

Following a week during which the media nearly overexploited the issue, four committees of the Bulgarian Parliament summoned the ministers Vezhdi Rashidov and Traicho Traikov to a hearing.

The hearing occurred yesterday and was well visited by right holders´ organisations as well as by representatives of the non-governmental sector and the civil society in general. Being one of the latter, I attended the hearing too.

Needless to say that while

the Bulgarian right holders´ organisations endorse ACTA

the representatives of the civil society are more or less strictly against it.

By the way, I made big efforts to broadcast the hearing on Twitter and you might want to visit my stream, in order to see who has said what in greater detail.

My impression from yesterday´s event is that GERB – Bulgaria´s currently ruling party – endorses the trade agreement too and is willing to execute the necessary parliamentary ratification.

By the same token, however, the government is aware of the

public animosity towards ACTA

and is ready to make the ratification conditional upon some reservations mainly with respect to the digital enforcement.

I hope that yesterday´s hearing was just the beginning and that many others will follow. I might get the chance to participate in a working party to deliver an expert opinion to the Parliament, but shall in any case remain focused on the matter and make information available on that blog!