The fugitive, hoping to sidestep U.S. prosecution on espionage charges, has requested asylum in 21 countries, nine of which are in the EU. Here’s a rundown of how EU countries responded:
Austria: His request is not valid, because applicants must be in Austria and submit their applications in person.
Finland: “We don’t have an official application from Snowden,” Jorma Vuorio, director general for the migration department of the Interior Ministry, told CNN. “He just left a letter requesting asylum at the Finnish Embassy in Moscow. According to Finnish legislation, it is not possible to leave an asylum application outside the Finnish territory.”
France: Hollande, the French president, said he has “not received any particular demands from Mr. Snowden,” according to French television reports.
Germany: Asylum requests must be made from within the country, but an Interior Ministry spokesman also said “the German right of residence principally entails the possibility of acceptance from abroad, if this seems necessary for international legal or urgent humanitarian reasons, or for the ensuring of political interests of the Federal Republic of Germany. This needs to be examined thoroughly in the case of Mr. Snowden.”
Ireland: The Irish Justice Ministry declined to confirm whether it had received a request on Snowden’s behalf, but said Irish law requires that applicants reach the country’s borders before a request can be considered.
Italy: The Italian Foreign Ministry said it received an asylum request by fax. The country accepts requests done in Italian territory or at the border, the ministry said.
The Netherlands: Snowden would need to be in Holland to formally request shelter, a spokesman for the Dutch state secretary said Tuesday.
Poland: Snowden’s request for asylum doesn’t fulfill requirements, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Tuesday.
Spain: The country is not reviewing Snowden’s request because it must be made from within or on its borders, a Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said.
Snowden, a 30-year-old former CIA employee and government contractor who blew the lid on secret US electronic surveillance activity, is currently holed up in Moscow’s Sheremetyevo International Airport after fleeing Hong Kong where he had first taken refuge.
Newly released documents show that America’s National Security Agency (NSA) also spied on EU diplomats in their embassies in Washington, D.C., and bugged the headquarters of the Council of the European Union in Brussels.