The European Parliament's civil liberties and home affairs committee today voted to accept testimony from NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden in the context of the European Parliament's inquiry into the revelations of mass surveillance by intelligence services. The Greens welcomed the confirmation of the testimony, which will be in the form of a written response to MEPs' questions, and insisted that the EP must immediately move to ensure the testimony is given an appropriate platform. Commenting on the development, Green justice and home affairs spokesperson Jan Philipp Albrecht stated:
"The confirmation that the European Parliament will finally accept testimony from Edward Snowden in the context of the EP's inquiry is a significant and positive development. To conclude the inquiry without testimony from its key witness would have been an unsatisfactory outcome. The failure to do so would have been an embarrassment and it is a source of relief that ideologically-blinded centre-right and conservative MEPs were faced down.
"It is now crucial that the Parliament guarantees an appropriate platform for hearing this testimony. The Greens believe this should be heard in the context of a meeting of the civil liberties committee and will be pushing to ensure this is facilitated before a vote is taken on the final report of the EP inquiry (1), with a view to ensuring the testimony can be taken into account.
"This week, the Greens will re-table an amendment to the final report of the inquiry, calling on EU member states to grant protection to Edward Snowden and we are calling for cross-political support for this. This would be an important and consequent step to recognising his role as a whistleblower and a clear statement against mass surveillance."
(1) The report will debated in the European Parliament plenary on 11 March and voted on 12 March.