Summary Box: EU suspends treaty ratification

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A PAUSE: The European Commission has suspended efforts to ratify a new international anti-counterfeiting agreement. Instead it is referring the pact to Europe’s highest court to see whether it violates any fundamental EU rights.

OPPOSITION: The move follows protests in several European capitals, including Berlin, Helsinki, Paris and Vienna, by critics who say the agreement would stifle free speech and access to information.

ABOUT THE PACT: Proponents say it is needed to harmonize international standards to protect the rights of those who produce movies, drugs, fashion goods and other products that often fall victim to piracy and intellectual property theft.