The European Parliament just voted to grant Edward Snowden asylum, but it doesn't actually do anything
Unfortunately for Snowden, it doesn't mean he can leave Russia just yet.
The former NSA contractor is currently holed up in Russia after leaking hundreds of thousands of highly confidential documents to journalists about the US government surveillance apparatus. He fears he will not get a fair trial in the US, and as such sought - and was granted - asylum in Russia.
Hearing reports EU just voted 285-281, overcoming huge pressure, to cancel all charges against me and prevent extradition. Game-changer.- Edward Snowden (@Snowden) October 29, 2015
But these kind of votes can signal which way the wind is blowing in Europe. In November 2014, the European Parliament voted to break up Google. This, obviously, hasn't happened - but Google is now facing significant scrutiny in the continent, including antitrust allegations.
285 MEPs voted in favour of the vote, and 281 voted against it. It wasn't a big margin, but Snowden took to Twitter to celebrate the vote:
This is not a blow against the US Government, but an open hand extended by friends. It is a chance to move forward. pic.twitter.com/fBs5H32wyD- Edward Snowden (@Snowden) October 29, 2015