The European Parliament has voted to conduct an “in-depth inquiry” into allegations of large scale U.S. spying on them.
Reacting to revelations made by self-professed NSA leaker Edward Snowden, that America had bugged European Union representatives and conducted huge surveillance programs involving them, 483 members voted for an investigation.
That’s more than half of the 766 members of parliament, although 98 voted against the proposal and 65 abstained.
As a result, the Civil Liberties Committee will “gather evidence from both U.S. and EU sources,” they announced in a statement.
“MEPs express serious concern over PRISM and other surveillance programs,” it said, adding that they, “strongly condemn spying on EU representations and call on the U.S. authorities to provide them with full information on these allegations without further delay.”
They also urged their leaders to use everything at their disposal in negotiations with the U.S. including suspending the current air passenger and bank data deals.
But it added that it would be “unfortunate” if trade talks between the two groups were to be affected.
Their ire was not just directed towards America however, as the parliament also expressed “grave concern” over the surveillance programs run by some of its own members including the U.K. Sweden and Germany.
“It urges them to examine whether those programs are compatible with EU law,” it said.
A spokesman said the details of who should run the inquiry and how long it will run for, will be arranged in meetings Tuesday.
First published July 8 2013, 11:39 PM