GUE/NGL
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Parliament slams mass surveillance but fails to protect Edward Snowden

GUE/NGL MEP Cornelia Ernst has welcomed today's plenary approval of Parliament's write-up of its own investigation into surveillance by both the NSA in the United States and EU member states' spy agencies, as revealed last year by whistle-blower Edward Snowden.

“This report states in no uncertain terms that Snowden's revelations are not mere accusations, they are hard facts, and it clearly condemns mass surveillance practices as something completely unacceptable in a democratic society where fundamental rights and freedoms are supposed to be respected,” she said.

But the German MEP, who has been following the inquiry for the GUE/NGL, condemned the fact that MEPS voted down a GUE/NGL amendment that called for Edward Snowden to be granted asylum in the EU.

“While this report sends a positive signal from the European Parliament that mass surveillance breaks with the EU's fundamental values, it would have been a much stronger signal of our indignation if Parliament had gone the whole way and called for Edward Snowden to be protected,” said Ernst. “Without Edward Snowden, and indeed all whistle-blowers who are being treated as traitors by their home countries, we would not have this evidence of unacceptable mass surveillance practices. We should defend those who risk everything by speaking the truth.”

In addition, the GUE/NGL believes that the report could have gone further by calling for an immediate end to the TTIP negotiations.

Today's votes also saw Parliament back proposals to modernise the EU's outdated data protection rules, a welcome outcome according to GUE/NGL MEPs.

“There has long been a need for updated rules that take new technological developments into account,” said Cornelia Ernst after the vote. “Today, MEPs ratcheted up the pressure on governments to take strong action in defence of strict standards in favour of civil liberties and citizens' rights,” she said.

GUE/NGL Press Contacts:
Emily Macintosh +32 470 85 05 08
David Lundy +32 470 85 05 09
Gay Kavanagh +32 473 84 23 20
European United Left / Nordic Green Left
European Parliamentary Group