The European Parliament will debate on 1 March whether to pass the controversial Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), an international treaty designed to protect the rights of copyright holders against the threat of internet piracy.
The treaty has faced opposition from governments and internet rights groups because it contains clauses that would lead to increased internet regulation. It has also been criticised for being drawn up in secret.
The European Parliament Committee for International Trade will discuss ACTA for the first time publically next Thursday. It will then make a formal recommendation to the full house on whether or not to approve ACTA.
The Parliament cannot amend the agreement but can only approve or reject it. If the latter occurs, then ACTA cannot be passed by the EU, and the treaty can only be accepted by member states individually.
If Parliament agrees to the ACTA proposals, however, then all EU member states will have to ratify the agreement before it comes into force.
Currently, this scenario looks unlikely as Poland has cast doubts on the treaty and last week stepped back from its January endorsement of ACTA in Japan.
On Friday, Poland's prime minister Donald Tusk reportedly said his country would not be ratifying the agreement, and admitted he was wrong to show initial support for it.
Tusk said he had appealed to the members of the European Parliament's People's Party to withdraw its support for ACTA.
Meanwhile, French MEP Kader Arif recently quit his role as the EC's rapporteur investigating ACTA, arguing the agreement will restrict internet freedom and should be made more transparent to the public.
In 2010, leaked documents showed that the trade agreement contains controversial proposals for disconnecting illegal downloaders from the internet.
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