Sarkozy snubbed by Barroso in the three strikes approach
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Barroso, President of the European Commission has refused French President Sarkozy's request to withdraw Amendment 138 included in the Telecoms Package recently voted by the European Parliament.
Amendment 138 which basically reinstates the legal issue of the freedom to communicate of Internet users, reaffirming that only threats to public security can justify the restriction to the free circulation of information on the Internet without a court decision, was voted with a large majority by the MEPs, fact which largely displeased EU French presidency who has continuously pushed and pressed for the application of the three strike approach introduced by its "Création et Internet" draft bill.
Sarkozy sent a letter to Barroso asking for the withdrawal of the amendment which would force France to give up its draft law. If the Commission does not reject the amendment, France would be in the position to obtain the refusal of the entire Telecoms Package which would practically be impossible. Therefore, Sarkozy is trying to obtain the withdrawal of the amendment by the Council of Ministers during the meeting scheduled for 27 November, before the second reading of the European Parliament that will take place during the first term of 2009. "Sarkozy tries to force his way through in Council, and his close staff does not hide that they want to subsequently outstrip the European Parliament by having the French bill adopted in emergency procedure before the second reading on the Telecoms Package" says La Quadrature du Net.
But Mr. Barroso, president of the EC sent a non-receipt denial by reminding the French President that the amendment was voted with 573 pro votes against 74 and stating that the EC will "respect this democratic decision of the European Parliament" adding that the "amendment is a significant reminder of the legal principles that are inherent keys to the legal order of the European Union, especially as regards the citizens' fundamental rights".
The position was stranghtned by the European Commission spokesman for information society issues, Martin Selmayr that said: "The European Commission respects this democratic decision of the European Parliament. In our opinion this amendment is an important re-affirmation of the basic principles of the rule of law in the EU, in particular the fundamental rights of its citizens."
The European Commission has therefore accepted the amendment thus forcing France to accept the report. The Commission has invited France to discuss the issue at the Council of Ministers meeting where an agreement has to be reached between the Council and the EP in order to pass the Telecoms Package. As the Commission has no legislative power it can only act as negotiator between the two bodies. If France goes on with its plans to present its Creation et Internet draft law on 18 November, it might be under violation of a European provision in progress of being adopted.
"The French President seems to have too soon forgotten how the European Union institutions work by pretending to ignore the co-decision principle" stated MEP Guy Bono, co-author of the amendment.
On the other hand, the British Government which in July seemed ready to pursue a gradual response approach for p2p users now denies any such attempt. The British Prime Minister stated in a response to a petition asking him not to force ISPs to spy on their users for the purpose of monitoring copyrighted content. "Unfortunately, much of the media reports around this issue have been incorrect. There are no proposals to make ISPs liable for the content that travels across their networks. Nor are there proposals for ISPs to monitor customer activity for illegal downloading, or to enforce a '3 strikes' policy."
Letter from Sarkozy to Barrosso (only in French)
President Sarkozy requires the withdrawal of Amendment 138 (only in
Gradual response: Barroso said no to Nicolas Sarkozy (only in French, 6.10.2008) http://www.numerama.com/magazine/10791-URGENT-Riposte-Graduee-Barroso-...
UK Prime Minister Denies Three Strikes Proposal... After Europe Tossed It
Graduated response: Europe must resist Sarkozy's authoritarianism
Graduated Response : The Lesson (7.10.2008)
EDRIgram: French law on 'graduate response' opposed by ISOC Europe