Thursday

26th Apr 2018

Merkel and Obama bury hatchet on US spying

  • Anti-NSA protest in Berlin: Merkel has given up on a no-spy agreement with the US (Photo: aktion-freiheitstattangst.org)

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and US President Barack Obama on Friday (2 May) are poised to mend ties after the exposure of her phone being tapped and millions of Germans spied upon by the National Security Agency (NSA).

It is the first visit to Washington for Merkel since the NSA news broke last year.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

Back then, Merkel was outraged and said this was a "breach of trust" among friends.

But the criticism has since faded. According to senior German officials, Merkel has accepted that there will be no "no-spying agreement" with the US, because the American side is unwilling to sign up to such a deal.

"We are not expecting any substantial progress after this visit in translating the goals the Chancellor is seeking," the official said.

Rather than seeking a bilateral deal, Germany is now eyeing an international effort at EU and UN level. "This is an tough nut to crack over the next years," another German official said.

On the other hand, efforts by the German Greens to bring NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden to Germany for hearings are being put on ice by Merkel's government.

In a letter to members of a parliamentary committee obtained by Sueddeutsche Zeitung, government officials say a personal invitation for the US whistleblower would "run counter to the political interests of Germany", and "put a grave and permanent strain" on US-German relations.

The letter was sent just a few days before Merkel's visit to Washington, which to the Greens' is an indication that the only goal is for "Obama not to be upset" and that the Chancellor shows "cowardice towards friends."

But Merkel's concessions are not unilateral.

In a report released just hours before her visit, reviewing intelligence activities including the bugging of Merkel's phone, the White House is pledging to extend data privacy protections to non-US citizens.

The report on "Big Data and Privacy" makes six recommendations, most of which rely on Congress to pass additional legislation or review existing guidelines.

But in conference call with reporters the author of the report, John Podesta, said that work to apply the 1974 Privacy Act to non-US persons would begin immediately and could be completed within six to 12 months, British daily The Guardian reports.

Merkel's visit to Washington coincides with the visit of European Commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso, who has no meetings with Obama, but will meet the CEO of Apple, Tim Cook.

News in Brief

  1. UN expects over $4bn in pledges for Syria
  2. Commission wants more public data made available for reuse
  3. Study: Brexit will hit all European farmers
  4. European media face rise in 'verbal violence' from politicians
  5. Greenland PM to keep power despite poll slump
  6. Commissioner optimistic on FYROM name solution
  7. Italian court keeps NGO migrant rescue boat docked
  8. German Jews warned not to wear skullcap in public

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Sustainable Energy Week 2018"Lead the Clean Energy Transition"- Register and Join Us in Brussels from 5 to 7 May
  2. EU Green Week 2018Green Cities for a Greener Future. Join the Debate in Brussels from 22 to 24 May
  3. Nordic Council of Ministers12 Recommendations for Nordic Leadership on Climate and Environment
  4. Macedonian Human Rights MovementOxford Professor Calls for an End to the Anti-Macedonian Name Negotiations
  5. ACCAPeople Who Speak-Up Should Feel Safe to Do So
  6. Mission of China to the EUProgress on China-EU Cooperation
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersWorld's Energy Ministers to Meet in Oresund in May to Discuss Green Energy
  8. ILGA EuropeParabéns! Portugal Votes to Respect the Rights of Trans and Intersex People
  9. Mission of China to the EUJobs, Energy, Steel: Government Work Report Sets China's Targets
  10. Martens CentreJoin Us at NET@WORK2018 Featuring Debates on Migration, Foreign Policy, Populism & Disinformation
  11. European Jewish CongressKantor Center Annual Report on Antisemitism Worldwide - The Year the Mask Came Off
  12. UNICEFCalls for the Protection of Children in the Gaza Strip

Latest News

  1. Whistleblowers could be enforcers of rule of law in Europe
  2. EU shelves Macron idea for 'European Darpa'
  3. Don't play EU 'games' with military HQs, Italian admiral says
  4. EU had a plan for Jordan - now it's time to make it work
  5. Time for EU to take charge of global health research agenda
  6. EU in race to set global Artificial Intelligence ethics standards
  7. Juncker delays air quality action due to busy agenda
  8. Spain makes bid for EU naval HQ