Thursday

23rd Mar 2017

Former German chancellor: US has 'no respect'

  • Schroeder (l) fell out with the US when he refused to back the Iraq war (Photo: consilium.europa.eu)

Gerhard Schroeder has said the US has "no respect" for Germany after media reported that his phone had also been tapped during his term as Chancellor.

"Tapping the phone of a Chancellor - this clearly goes too far," Schroeder told the Bild newspaper on Wednesday (5 February).

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

Earlier this week, Sueddeutsche Zeitung and the NDR broadcaster reported that Chancellor Angela Merkel was not the only German head of government to have her phone bugged by US intelligence services.

According to the two German media, the US surveillance on the then-chancellor Schroeder started in 2002 when he refused to join the military intervention in Iraq.

It later turned out that the main reason for the US-led war - weapons of mass destruction allegedly held by the Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein - did not exist.

"The US has no respect for a loyal partner and the sovereignty of our country," Schroeder told Bild.

He criticised the "huge mistrust of the Americans for an ally who showed a high degree of solidarity," in reference to the German troops sent to Afghanistan in support of the US effort.

He said the German decision not to go into Iraq "has to be respected. And that applies to the US as well."

For his part, foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, who was at the time Schroeder's chief of staff, said he is not surprised that his former boss was spied on. He added that he always suspected the surveillance activities of America's National Security Agency (NSA) had stretched over a long period of time.

German justice minister Heiko Maas also weighed in on the debate, noting that spying on Chancellors "does not contribute in any way to preventing terrorist attacks."

He told Spiegel Online his government is still seeking a no-spy pact with the US, despite reluctance in Washington to sign up to such a promise.

"It seems that preserving security is for the NSA just a fig leaf for collecting data in an unhindered way," Maas said.

A spokesman for Chancellor Angela Merkel on Wednesday did not confirm the media reports on Schroeder, saying what matters is not so much that one or another Chancellor was a victim.

"It's about protecting the rights of German citizens. It's about trust, which is needed in a partnership," the spokesman said.

He added that Merkel continues to talk to the US about the issue and warned that if trust is broken, "there is less, not more security."

Stolen Russian billions ended up in EU states

Illicit money flowing out of Russia ended up in almost every single EU state, an investigation has found, posing questions on the integrity of Europe’s banking systems.

Turkey-EU relations plumb new depths

Turkey’s EU quarrel escalated on all fronts over the weekend, amid fresh “Nazi” and “terrorism” jibes. “Not all Turks are little Erdogans,” Juncker said.

News in Brief

  1. Man arrested in Antwerp after trying to mow people down
  2. Marine Le Pen goes to Russia
  3. Dutch post-election talks prioritise green-right coalition
  4. EU summons Turkish envoy over threats to Europeans
  5. British police make first arrests in London terror probe
  6. EU commission has received Facebook reply on WhatsApp
  7. Rome expects thousands of protesters at summit
  8. Dijsselbloem says his comments had 'Dutch directness'

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EJCExpresses Concern That Extremists Still Have the Ability and Motivation to Murder in Europe
  2. European Gaming & Betting AssociationAudiovisual Media Services Directive to Exclude Minors from Gambling Ads
  3. ILGA-EuropeTime for a Reality Check on International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
  4. UNICEFHuman Cost to Refugee and Migrant Children Mounts Up One Year After EU-Turkey Deal
  5. Malta EU 2017Council Adopts New Rules to Improve Safety of Medical Devices
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Energy Research: How to Reach 100 Percent Renewable Energy
  7. Party of European SocialistsWe Must Renew Europe for All Europeans
  8. MEP Tomáš ZdechovskýThe European Commission Has Failed in Its Fight Against Food Waste
  9. ILGA-EuropeEP Recognises Discrimination Faced by Trans & Intersex People
  10. Nordic Council of Ministers25 Nordic Bioeconomy Cases for Sustainable Change
  11. Malta EU 2017Consumer Protection Laws to Be Strengthened by EU-Wide Cooperation
  12. European Free AllianceSupporting Artur Mas: Democracy and Freedom Cannot Be Convicted

Latest News

  1. May: London attacker was known to the police
  2. Ending the migrant deal with Turkey may save the EU
  3. Poland unlikely to face EU discipline on rule of law
  4. Rutte courted Wilders' voters, now he must deliver
  5. Barnier to UK: trade talks will come after settling accounts
  6. EU declaration to voice unity in troubled times
  7. Terror attack shuts down UK parliament
  8. Catalonia and Scotland at core of Europe's geopolitical conundrum