Thursday

16th Aug 2018

UK rejects German 'no spy' pact, report says

  • Merkel (c) took note of the affair when Snowden revealed the NSA bugged her phone (Photo: consilium.europa.eu)

The UK is reportedly opposed to a no-spy pact being crafted by EU states, despite months of German-led negotiations.

German daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung on Wednesday (15 January) reported that the pact is designed to committ member states “to refrain from mutual espionage” in both the political and economic areas.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

The newspaper, citing an internal government report, adds that the accord would allow “surveillance only for previously agreed purposes such as combating terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.”

It would also bar a member state’s intelligence service from asking a sister service to obtain data on its citizens if this not allowed under the querants’ national law.

A separate but similar deal between the US and Germany is also said to be on the verge of collapse.

The debate comes after former US intelligence contractor Edward Snowden revealed that the US intelligence agency, the NSA, and its UK equivalent, GCHQ, are collecting and bulk processing people’s personal data on a global scale.

The tools used by the agencies are said to violate privacy rights and to conduct political and industrial espionage on a scale never before seen.

The Snowden leaks also show that intelligence services in France, Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden have co-operated with the US and UK-led snooping operation.

EU leaders were silent on the revelations until it came out that the US has even bugged German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s mobile phone and that the US embassy in Berlin has a listening station on its roof.

The leaks say the NSA and GCHQ also targeted EU competition commissioner Joaquin Almunia.

“I’m deeply upset, not only because I have received no explanation or regret, but also because I believe as a democrat that these activities should be illegal,” he told press on Wednesday, the Financial Times reports.

The Americans are currently lobbying the EU institutions and member states in an effort to restore trust, with President Barack Obama set to deliver a speech on NSA reforms.

But for their part, some MEPs have called on the European Commission to scrap EU data exchange agreements with the US.

Deputies in Strasbourg on Wednesday re-iterated their demand for the commission to suspend the EU-US Safe Harbour deal, which is designed to ensure that firms follow EU data protection laws when processing the personal data of EU citizens.

They said the NSA revelations prove that US companies do not comply with the deal.

“We will not tolerate Americans and Europeans are divided into first and second class citizens as regards their data protection,” Germany’s Manfred Weber, the centre-right EPP group’s vice-president, noted.

EU Commission skirts Italy sanctions on Roma evictions

The European Commission, as guardian of the treaties, declines to sanction Italy's treatment of the Roma following a forced eviction on Thursday of some 300 from a camp in the outskirts of the Italian capital.

News in Brief

  1. Salvini questions EU 'constraints' after bridge collapse
  2. Bosnian Serbs to rewrite 1995 Srebrenica genocide report
  3. Malta to allow Aquarius migrants to disembark
  4. Juncker sends condolences over Genoa bridge collapse
  5. EU pledges €500,000 more for Indonesian earthquake island
  6. EU commission in talks with states on new Aquarius migrants
  7. Man held after car crashes into UK parliament security barrier
  8. Brexit delays better readability of medicines' instructions

Opinion

The systemic risk that Europe has to face

One of the biggest systemic risks across Europe, illustrated by Hungary and Poland, is the dominance of the executive power over the judiciary and informal channels of political dependency.

Schengen at stake in Austria-Germany talks

German interior minister Horst Seehofer is in Vienna on Thursday - as his plan to reject some asylum seekers was met by an Austrian threat to close its borders too.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. ACCACompany Law Package: Making the Best of Digital and Cross Border Mobility,
  2. IPHRCivil Society Worried About Shortcomings in EU-Kyrgyzstan Human Rights Dialogue
  3. UNESDAThe European Soft Drinks Industry Supports over 1.7 Million Jobs
  4. Mission of China to the EUJointly Building Belt and Road Initiative Leads to a Better Future for All
  5. IPHRCivil society asks PACE to appoint Rapporteur to probe issue of political prisoners in Azerbaijan
  6. ACCASocial Mobility – How Can We Increase Opportunities Through Training and Education?
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersEnergy Solutions for a Greener Tomorrow
  8. UNICEFWhat Kind of Europe Do Children Want? Unicef & Eurochild Launch Survey on the Europe Kids Want
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Countries Take a Stand for Climate-Smart Energy Solutions
  10. Mission of China to the EUChina: Work Together for a Better Globalisation
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNordics Could Be First Carbon-Negative Region in World
  12. European Federation of Allergy and AirwaysLife Is Possible for Patients with Severe Asthma

Latest News

  1. US trial sheds light on murky Cyprus-Russia links
  2. Burned cars fuel Swedish election debate
  3. EU court to hear citizens' climate case against EU
  4. How long can Bulgaria keep facing both East and West?
  5. EU commission steps up legal case against Poland
  6. Separation of powers instead of 'Spitzenkandidat' process
  7. Revealed: ExxonMobil's private dinner with Cyprus' top EU brass
  8. What Salvini teaches us about Operation Sophia

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us