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Germany passes spy law allowing espionage against EU states

German policymakers have approved a bill that allows the country's foreign intelligence agency to spy on European Union institutions and fellow EU member states.

The legislation is part of a range of measures meant to improve oversight of espionage after the revelations by former US National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden.

A panel of independent judges will have to be informed when the BND spy agency eavesdrops on Germany's allies. Judges will also have the right to make spot checks of the agency's work.

Parliament's intelligence oversight powers will also be increased and intelligence chiefs will have to attend a public hearing every year.

Critics say that instead of clamping down on questionable BND activities the law will merely legalise them.

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