It appears that what's up for vote is a report on how to further women's rights and equality between the sexes; that one has a paragraph stuck in that urges member states, and the EU overall, to "push harder for the adhesion to" a Euro-parl resolution passed back in 1997 against gender stereotypes on women /why only women?/ in advertising, and said resolution, in turn, contained a sentence about "prevent(ing) any form of pornography in the media". Those are kind of dodgy and vague formulas for any kind of legal intent, and the resolution in question was passed almost in the internet's iron age. I haven't read that old resolution but I bet it doesn't make much reference to the web, and its impact in *any* sense , during fifteen years, has been zero.
Those kinds of vague and sometimes rethorically far-reaching statements are typical of a way that EU matters have often been spelled out in public in southern Europe. It's a French tradition, or Latin, kind of: you state things broadly and imposingly but there isn't necessarily a lot of precision or real intention to implement what the words seem to mean. And that's kind of confusing to us people from the north - northern Europe or much of the U.S. - where the idea is that "if things are put into resolutions and programs those resolutions, goals and boasts should have practical effects, they should 'mean just what they say' ".
Anyway, even if this report and its proposals would pass in the EUP, that doesn't make it any kind of finished and baked law. Not by a long way. Unlike some national parliaments the EU parliament can't push through its own written texts into law, all on their own
, even if there is a solid majority on the floor for the suggestion. They have to work it over in committes with suggestions for writing the actual proposed legal directive, suggestions or alternatives that are submitted or fleshed out to them by/in cooperation with the EU commission; there would be a couple rounds of that, like on a thorny issue in the US congress but with the EUP having much less authority to say "it's my way or the highway" than the senate sometimes has vs the cabinet and the president, and there'd be lots of haggling. In that kind of tumbling, any residue of a real risk for a hardline ban on porn or sexualized pictures, music, writings or films is likely to get pushed out or rubbed off the books. I'm not up to spped on just where the current proposal is in terms of political road stations on its way through that process but it does look like it's an early stage, considering that no one has heard about it before. So I don't think there's much of a risk, though I will keep an eye on it of course.
And ultimately, it's governments, national parliaments and national supreme courts that decide just how
, and how far, they will implement EU laws. I don't see any chance that countries such as Germany, Italy, France or - hell, pretty much any country in northern or western Europe - would put a crusade against porn on its legal books and commit to fighting for purity that way.
The EU actually has a pretty good track record when it comes to standing up against attempts to tamper with civic rights on the internet, freedom of information online and guarding against "three-strikes out" policies about controversial practices by web users (such as the French HADOPI law for instance, which was meant to cut off any household from the web if one of its members had been caught filesharing copyrighted material, or attempts by governments to allow blocking of 'disturbing' sites)
The part that really bugged me, beyond the general idea of the loss of freedoms for people to choose for themselves what they view of course, was the part where the IT department began blocking incoming emails of those who wanted to be heard on the issue from reaching members of the European Parliament. This was apparently done at the request of some of the members. So much for representing their constituency.
Yes, I just read about that and I thought it was bad parctice too. Of course they wanted to avoid what they would see as a deluge of mail triggered by sex site entrepreneurs, actual spammers and various mailing lists, but that doesn't make it better. And there's no doubt that there are some puritans and stolid people in the EUP. I understand some of the mail traffic on this from citizens is coming through now though.