Wednesday

17th Oct 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 passport sales create 'proud Maltese citizens'

Malta says its 'Golden Visas' scheme attracts families that want to become "proud Maltese citizens". Meanwhile the sales to Russian nationals, and others, have generated over €700m in revenue.

News in Brief

  1. Poland questions supremacy of EU court
  2. Medvedev to meet Juncker and Merkel in Brussels
  3. Italians and Czechs least favourable to remaining in EU
  4. Facebook hack set to be first major test of EU data rules
  5. Barnier open to extending Brexit transition period
  6. Juncker mulls rejection of Italy's 2019 budget
  7. German justice minister to lead SPD in European elections
  8. Tusk: May should come with new Brexit proposals

Opinion

Interpol, China and the EU

China joins a long list of countries - including Russia - accused of abusing Interpol's 'Red Notice' system to harras activists and dissidents.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. International Partnership for Human RightsOpen letter to Emmanuel Macron ahead of Uzbek president's visit
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsRaising key human rights concerns during visit of Turkmenistan's foreign minister
  3. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSState of the Nordic Region presented in Brussels
  4. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe vital bioeconomy. New issue of “Sustainable Growth the Nordic Way” out now
  5. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  6. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General
  7. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSNordic design sets the stage at COP24, running a competition for sustainable chairs.
  8. Counter BalanceIn Kenya, a motorway funded by the European Investment Bank runs over roadside dwellers
  9. ACCACompany Law Package: Making the Best of Digital and Cross Border Mobility,
  10. International Partnership for Human RightsCivil Society Worried About Shortcomings in EU-Kyrgyzstan Human Rights Dialogue
  11. UNESDAThe European Soft Drinks Industry Supports over 1.7 Million Jobs
  12. Mission of China to the EUJointly Building Belt and Road Initiative Leads to a Better Future for All

Latest News

  1. Nordic region's top bank in new Russia funds complaint
  2. Why 'Spitzenkandidat' is probably here to stay
  3. EU ministers struggle to deal with Poland and Hungary
  4. Commission tried to hide details of 'WiFi4EU' glitch
  5. Brexit standoff continues before EU summit
  6. ASEM: Global Partners for Global Challenges
  7. How Juncker's 'do less' group concluded EU should not do less
  8. Cyprus and Russia: Association of Cyprus Banks responds

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us