Just over a month after the preliminary report by the European Parliament acknowledged the existence and capabilities of the Echelon spy network, a final resolution all but admits that there is nothing the EU can do about it.
During a European Parliament meeting on Tuesday, the committee made 60 amendments before passing the resolution that Echelon posed no threat as a tool for industrial espionage.
But some members of the committee protested that the meeting had put very little pressure on the US to curb its spying capabilities.
Italian representative, Giuseppe Di Lello Finuoli, expressed concern that European citizens had been left exposed by the EU's soft touch with the US.
"Everything will continue on as it has in the past. It is possible to conduct espionage from one country of the European Union on another without any consequences," he was reported as saying.
Hackles were raised further when committee head Gerhard Schmid and committee chairman Carlos Coelho put forward a motion for European investment in decryption, which was interpreted as a suggestion that Europe was interested in its own version of Echelon.
After the slightly stronger worded amendments, the year-long investigation was struck off as a success, ultimately finding that Echelon "is not in breach of union law because it does not concern the aspects of union law that would be required for there to be incompatibility".
French representative Alain Krivine admitted that the group was being "hypocritical".
"All countries are engaged in political and industrial espionage," he said. "It's just a question of power, and the United States has the most power."
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