• France's news in English
 
Calls grow for France to grant Snowden asylum
Photo: The Guardian/AFP

Calls grow for France to grant Snowden asylum

Published: 01 Jul 2013 12:27 GMT+02:00
Updated: 01 Jul 2013 13:14 GMT+02:00

The latest revelations from Snowden were carried in Britain’s Guardian newspaper and Germany's Der Spiegel over the weekend.

Documents leaked by the NSA whistleblower claim to show how the French embassy in Washington DC was one of 38 spying "target"s for US intelligence services, which included EU missions to the US.

The reports have been met with fury across the political spectrum in France and on Monday parties united in calling for Snowden to be granted asylum as a reward for leaking documents revealing the extent of US surveillance operations.

France’s Green party the EELV (Europe, Ecologie-Les Verts), which has two ministers in the Socialist-led government, urged President François Hollande to help Snowden, “a defender of freedom” for “raising the alert”.

In a statement the party said: “The EELV and all its French and European MPs solemnly request the President of the Republic and the government grant political asylum to a man who  had the courage to reveal the existence of illegal surveillance but also allowed us to know the extent of it, which included the EU offices in the United Nations and Brussels."

'Whistleblowers need to be protected'.

In the eyes of the Greens there were two reasons why the former CIA operative, who is currently stranded in Moscow airport in the hands of the Russian authorities, should be granted safe passage to France.

“It would be a reminder that France’s intention is to protect all whistleblowers, whatever their nationality, because they are an essential safeguard of democracy,” the statement from the party said.

The second motive for allowing Snowden to come to France would be to show the US that “France rejects the American diktat over data protection and violations of basic civil liberties in the name of the fight against terrorism.

In a sign of how deep the anger is in France over the spying allegation the leaders of the far-left and far-right have shown rare agreement in calling on Hollande to come to Snowden’s aid.

'If we don't protect Snowden who will be protect?'

National Front leader Marine le Pen and far-left firebrand Jean-Luc Mélenchon both believe Snowden should be granted asylum although they two did spar over who was fist to issue the demand.

On Sunday Mélenchon said: I request that France grant political asylum to Mr Snowden, a benefactor of Europe, who helped uncover this conspiracy.”

Le Pen accused Mélenchon of trying to "jump on the bandwagon" saying:  “I was the first to demand that France grants political asylum to Edward Snowden, the whistleblower over this spying affair.

“We must protect someone who has worked for the good of the public,” she added. “If we don’t grant asylum to Snowden then who exactly are we going to grant it to.”

Despite the obvious anger in Paris the French government has so far tempered its response to the spying revelations.

Although Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius has demanded explanations from Washington DC, ministers have been guarded over the question of granting Edward Snowden asylum.

In an interview with BFMTV government minister Fleur Pellerin said “there was a need to look at the lack of an international status that could protect whistleblowers.”

She added that the Snowden case fell in to a “grey area of international law”.

A deputy from the ruling Socialist party, Jean-Christophe Cambadelis said ‘The EU should first increase the pressure by asking the US to she shed some light on the affair.”

What do you think? Should France grant political asylum to Snowden?

Ben McPartland (ben.mcpartland@thelocal.com)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
French bus driver faked assault in paid leave ploy
The town hall in Goussainville. Photo: P.Poschadel/Wikimedia

French bus driver faked assault in paid leave ploy

A 23-year-old bus driver in suburban Paris was handed a six month suspended prison sentence Friday for staging his own assault in a ploy to obtain paid sick leave. READ  

Trans French fishmonger nabbed in naked display
A French fishmonger (unrelated to the story). File photo: Pascal Pochard Casabianca/AFP

Trans French fishmonger nabbed in naked display

Unholy mackerel! A French fishmonger in women's lingerie has a lot of explaining to do after being arrested for exposing himself to holiday shoppers through his store window. READ  

EasyJet strike grounds France Xmas flights
Photo: Pascal Pavani/AFP

EasyJet strike grounds France Xmas flights

EasyJet flight attendants, angry over scheduling and pay, announced Friday a strike expected to force the low-cost carrier to cancel about half its flights in France the day after Christmas. READ  

French ex-airline boss: ‘Missing MH370 covered up’
Photo: Shutterstock

French ex-airline boss: ‘Missing MH370 covered up’

A former airline boss is making waves in France after he claimed that the mysterious disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 in March had been covered up, and that the aircraft was likely hijacked by a hacker and possibly shot down by the US. READ  

French mayor wins battle to keep nativity scene
The mayor of Beziers, supported by the French far-right National Front party (FN), Robert Menard, looks at a nativity scene displayed at the Beziers city hall. Photo: Pascal Guyot

French mayor wins battle to keep nativity scene

As the annual Christmas battle over nativity scenes rages in France, it was a victory for the traditionalists in southern Montpellier on Friday as a court refused to order the removal of a town hall creche. READ  

Santa bikers ride through Paris for orphans
Some 3,000 bikers rode through Paris to support orphaned children of firefighters. Photo of Santa biker: Shutterstock

Santa bikers ride through Paris for orphans

There was a whole lot of revving and red hats going on in central Paris on Thursday evening when some 3,000 bikers dressed up as Santa - or his little helpers – rode through the City of Lights for the 12th year in a row in support of the orphaned children of firefighters. READ  

China's Fosun ups bid for France's Club Med
The drawn-out take-over battle for the iconic holiday brand is already the longest recorded on the Paris stock market. Photo: Viaggio Routard/Flickr

China's Fosun ups bid for France's Club Med

Chinese conglomerate Fosun on Friday sweetened its offer for French holiday group Club Med, raising it by nearly €100 million, in a move to try to trump an Italian rival in what has been described as the longest bidding war in Parisian stock market history. READ  

The Local List
Top Ten: French Christmas traditions
In France people shop in traditional Christmas markets as much as in the deluxe stores. Photo: Dalbera/Flickr

Top Ten: French Christmas traditions

Every country does Christmas slightly differently, and the French - who, to their credit, rarely do things like the rest of the world - naturally have their own Christmas traditions, that they have just about held on to over the years. READ  

The top ten tackiest 'Made in France' gifts
You'll find plenty of tacky gifts in French souvenir shops. Photo: Eole Wind/Flickr

The top ten tackiest 'Made in France' gifts

Christmas shopping can be challenging when it comes to finding authentic ‘Made in France’ gifts and there is often a very thin line between tasteful and tacky. The Local has put together a (highly subjective) list of presents we think you shouldn't bring home. READ  

Far-right mayor barred over campaign finances
The court said Fabien Engelmann, mayor of Hayange in eastern France, would be banned for a year from the moment he has exhausted all his appeals. Photo: Frederick Florin/AFP

Far-right mayor barred over campaign finances

A French court on Friday barred a mayor from France's far-right National Front party from practicing politics for a year, citing a "particularly serious infringement" of the country's campaign financing rules. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
National
Santa bikers ride through Paris for orphans
Culture
Top 10 tackiest 'Made in France' gifts
Gallery
10 traditions that make a French Christmas
Culture
GALLERY: The French language's fixation with 'les Anglais'
Society
So what does the web tell us about the French in the year 2014
Society
Have the French fallen out of love with Christmas?
National
Immigration in France: Hollande hits back at the scaremongers
Culture
What's on: 10 things to do in France before Christmas
National
Why has The Local got a new logo?
National
Muslims rule France in 2022: The bad boy of French literature is back
Gallery
There are so many things that claim to be French but aren't. Here are 12.
National
Crazy cat stories: Moggie returns after 1,200km trek across France
National
Tea sets for boys? French feminists protest 'gendered' Christmas presents
National
Jacques Chirac's 'head' - The perfect place to hide 1.5 kilos of weed
Gallery
Myths debunked: 11 things you (wrongly) presumed about France
National
Prices are tumbling but the property ladder is increasingly out of reach for the French
Education
IN IMAGES: French universities 'in ruin'. The students have the evidence
National
Life's about to get a lot cheaper for Paris commuters. Or is it?
Gallery
Ten dos and don'ts for partying with the French this Christmas
National
Some famous French fine wines are under threat from high speed trains
National
VIDEO: Homeless bodybuilder turns the streets of Paris into his gym
Business & Money
Noble Prize for Economics: Six things to know about Jean Tirole
Culture
Nobel Literature Prize: Ten things to know about Patrick Modiano
Gallery
Looking for a good Christmas market in France? Here's our top 10
Gallery
IN PICTURES: The top 15 new inventions to come out of France
Sponsored Article
Top ten gifts for an expat Christmas
Gallery
Miss France Farmer: The contest to find a 'real French beauty'
Gallery
IN PICTURES: Lyon's spectacular festival of lights dazzles once again
Gallery
IN IMAGES: Ten French Bond girls through the ages
National
Outrage forces French city to scrap yellow triangle ID cards for homeless
Gallery
Who does Christmas better - The French or Anglos? We decide.
National
All you need to know about the new French Bond girl Léa Seydoux
International
'My iPod's broken' - French jihadists moan about lack of home comforts
National
Race you to the top of the Eiffel Tower. No seriously, I'll race you.
National
And what if Mona Lisa was really a slave from China?
Opinion
Why company bosses in France have just about had enough
National
What impact did a 'giant butt plug' in Paris have on sales of sex toys?
Travel
National Geographic's top world destination for 2015 is in France.
Society
French babies switched at birth: Families seek €12 million damages
National
Why are so many French police officers taking their own lives?
Society
Immigration in France: Ten numbers that matter
Sponsored Article
Win a €250 voucher for your Christmas list
National
Sarko is back in the ring: Did he ever really leave it?
National
IN IMAGES: Yet more fatal floods hit the south of France
Gallery
Forget tourism and wine, here are 10 OTHER ways France leads the world
Sponsored Article
Live like a local - anywhere in the world
Sponsored Article
Shop Christmas gifts at Debenhams international store
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se