Give Snowden Asylum in Europe, Say MEPs

Edward Snowden

The European Parliament has voted to call on EU member states to

“drop any criminal charges against Edward Snowden, grant him protection and consequently prevent extradition or rendition by third parties, in recognition of his status as whistle-blower and international human rights defender”.

The decision is part of a resolution passed today on the follow-up to Parliament’s resolution of 12 March 2014 on the electronic mass surveillance of EU citizens.

Today’s resolution expresses the dissatisfaction of the parliament with the progress since then, which it describes as “highly inadequate” given the extent of the revelations of mass surveillance. “EU citizens’ fundamental rights remain in danger” and “too little has been done to ensure their full protection,” they say.

MEPs welcome the 6 October ruling by the EU Court of Justice (ECJ) in the Schrems case, which invalidated the Commission’s decision on the Safe Harbour scheme for data transfers to the US. “This ruling has confirmed the long-standing position of Parliament regarding the lack of an adequate level of protection under this instrument”, they say.

Parliament calls on the Commission to “immediately take the necessary measures to ensure that all personal data transferred to the US are subject to an effective level of protection that is essentially equivalent to that guaranteed in the EU”. It invites the Commission to reflect immediately on alternatives to Safe Harbour and on the “impact of the judgment on any other instruments for the transfer of personal data to the US, and to report on the matter by the end of 2015”. The resolution also reiterates a call to suspend the Terrorist Finance Tracking Programme (TFTP) agreement with the US.

The resolution also expresses the Parliament’s concern about “recent laws in some member states that extend surveillance capabilities of intelligence bodies”, including in France, the UK and the Netherlands. It is also worried by revelations of mass surveillance of telecommunications and internet traffic inside the EU by the German foreign intelligence agency BND in cooperation with the US National Security Agency (NSA).

The resolution also calls for an EU strategy for greater IT independence and online privacy, stresses the need to ensure meaningful democratic oversight of intelligence activities and to rebuild trust with the US.

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