BRUSSELS – European Union leaders meeting in Brussels say
distrust of the United States over spying could harm the fight
A statement agreed by the leaders says that “a lack of trust
could prejudice” intelligence-gathering co-operation.
France and Germany are pushing for talks with the America
to find a new “understanding” by the year-end.
A number of allegations against American intelligence agents
have surfaced this week, including the bugging of German
Chancellor Angela Merkel’s phone.
In addition there have been claims that the US National
Security Agency (NSA) monitored millions of French telephone
Yesterday, the British Guardian newspaper also reported
that it had obtained a confidential memo from the NSA
suggesting it had monitored the phones of 35 world leaders.
The latest revelations have been sourced to American
whistleblower Edward Snowden, the former intelligence
contractor who fled the country earlier this year and is now in
They overshadowed other issues at the EU summit in
Brussels, including the Mediterranean migration problem, which
framed the agenda of today’s talks.
Italian authorities said they had intercepted some 800
migrants trying to cross the Mediterranean as the EU leaders
prepared to meet.
The statement of heads of state or government, released
today, reflects the EU leaders’ conclusions following their talks
It says the recent intelligence issues had raised “deep
concerns” among European citizens. The statement says the
leaders “underlined the close relationship between Europe and
the USA and the value of that partnership”.
It continues: “[The leaders] stressed that intelligencegathering
is a vital element in the fight against terrorism.”
And it went on: “A lack of trust could prejudice the
necessary cooperation in the field of intelligence-gathering.”
Belgium’s Prime Minister Elio di Rupo said: “The objective
must remain the same – to fight against terrorism but also
“Everyone can understand the need for exceptional
measures given the danger of terrorism . . . but we are not in
the position where we should spy on each other.” (BBC)