Bulgaria's Cabinet Halts ACTA, Blames Socialists

Politics » DOMESTIC | February 15, 2012, Wednesday // 14:36
Bulgaria's Cabinet Halts ACTA, Blames Socialists: Bulgaria's Cabinet Halts ACTA, Blames Socialists Bulgaria's Prime Minister, Boyko Borisov, now says he assumes full responsibility for his government stopping the ratification of controversial ACTA agreement. Photo by BGNES

Bulgaria's government is halting the ratification of the controversial international Anti-counterfeiting Trade Agreement, ACTA.

The announcement was made Wednesday by Prime Minister, Boyko Borisov, during the regularly scheduled meeting of the Council of Ministers.

Borisov declared he was assuming the entire political responsibility for the decision and expects to be attacked by international organizations on it.

He added that Bulgaria's Minister of Economy and Energy, Traicho Traikov, had, very generously, accepted the blame for everything regarding the ACTA outrage.

On Tuesday the Minister declared Bulgaria will freeze its participation in ACTA and assumed full responsibility for signing it, despite the fact that negotiations on it have started as early as 2006, long before he became member of the cabinet.

On Wednesday, Traikov even announced that he is ready to resign over the ACTA controversy if Borisov decided such sanction is needed.

"I cannot accept that he is responsible for ACTA," Borisov said later.

The PM was adamant that the negotiations on the agreement have started during the term of the previous cabinet, and there is no way for the now opposition, left-wing Bulgarian Socialist Party, BSP, to pretend they never heard about it.

According to Borisov, his predecessor and BSP leader, Sergey Stanishev, had been part of the negotiations on ACTA in the European Parliament, while the country's first and former EU Commissioner, Meglena Kuneva led them – the latter is something Kuneva firmly denies.

The PM further vowed that the Members of the European Parliament from his ruling, center-right Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria party, GERB, would not endorse the ratification of ACTA.

"Bulgarian legislation on internet piracy and protection of copyrights is strict enough and we do not need ACTA," Borisov concluded.

Traikov told journalists after the meeting that the rejection of ACTA would not harm the country's reputation, and that some new objections have emerged which have not been subject to large public interest 5-6 years ago.

"Germany's government decided to sign the agreement, but then backed from it and announced it would wait for the EP's decision; Poland and the Czech Republic began the ratification procedure, but are now stopping it," the Minister said.

On January 26, the Bulgarian government signed in Tokyo the international ACTA agreement, vowing to make downloading content similar to forgery of brands.

The agreement was sealed by Bulgarian ambassador to Japan Lyubomir Todorov, based on a decision by the Bulgarian cabinet taken hastily on January 11.

Transcripts from the meeting of the Council of Ministers from January 11 reveal that it had been Traikov, who had made the proposal.

Ever since the signing, ACTA stirred much discontent in Bulgaria, both because it had not been discussed by the cabinet and because the public had been kept entirely in the dark about the decision to sign it, until prominent Bulgarian bloggers and lawyers stirred large-scale noise about it. They lashed out at the signing of ACTA over their belief the agreement will bind countries to install legal regulations that excessively and unduly broadly penalize Internet users.

Anti-ACTA protests took place in 16 Bulgarian and 150 European cities on Saturday.

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Tags: European Commissioner, Bulgarian Socialist Party, GERB, BSP, Meglena Kuneva, three-way coalition, NGOs, GERB, European parliament, torrent, movies, music, download, forgery, counterfeit, Japan, piracy, Internet, ACTA, proposal, Traicho Traikov, Economy and Energy Minister, Boyko Borisov, Prime Minister, rallies, protests, marches, sofia, Sergey Stanishev, Germany
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