Germany has summoned the US Ambassador over allegations that the National Security Agency (NSA) spied on the European Union (EU) including German officials.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel will discuss this new round of allegations that has infuriated EU members with President Obama.
A report came out this weekend that the NSA had bugged EU offices in Washington and had hacked EU computers.
“If it is confirmed that diplomatic representations of the European Union and individual European countries have been spied upon, we will clearly say that bugging friends is unacceptable,” Merkel’s spokesman said, according to Reuters.
“We are no longer in the Cold War,” he added, referring to the tensions between the US and the Soviet Union after the end of World War II.
Hanging in the balance is a free trade agreement between the US and Germany worth billions, which the Germans say they still want to happen. However, there needs to be mutual trust, they insist.
“We’re very much focused on the question of these allegations and we’re looking for a clear statement from our U.S. partners.” the spokesperson added.
Meanwhile, the president of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso, ordered a security sweep of European facilities and computer programs.
The allegations are the work of former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, who gave the information to German magazine Der Spiegel this Saturday. He showed the magazine a “top secret” document that apparently revealed 38 NSA surveillance “targets”, including European and international embassies, and EU offices.
Viviane Reding, vice-president of the EU said on Sunday,
“Partners do not spy on each other. We cannot negotiate over a big transatlantic market if there is the slightest doubt that our partners are carrying out spying activities on the offices of our negotiators. The American authorities should eliminate any such doubt swiftly,” she added.
European President Martin Schulz said that if the allegation were true, the U.S. was treating Europe as an enemy, not an ally.
“I’m shocked in case it is true. I feel, treated as a European and as a representative of a European institution, like the representative of an enemy. Is this the basis of a constructive relationship on the basis of mutual trust?” Schulz asked on Sunday.
The fallout from disclosures by Edward Snowden continue to haunt the US.
Do you think these new allegations about the NSA spying will hurt the free trade agreement with Germany?