Wednesday

6th Jul 2022

US urges EU not to halt trade talks over spy affair

  • Relations between the US and Germany have been "severely strained" by the bugging scandal (Photo: State Department)

US secretary of state John Kerry has urged European leaders not to let the NSA snooping scandal derail EU-US trade talks.

Speaking in Warsaw on Tuesday (5 November) after meeting his Polish counterpart, Radek Sikorski, Kerry said the trade talks "should not be confused with whatever legitimate questions exist with respect to NSA [National Security Agency] or other activities."

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

He added that the trade deal would "put millions of people to work, create new jobs, more opportunities and it is worth pushing for."

Trade officials from the EU and US will resume the second round of negotiations in Brussels next week, with discussions on services, investment, energy and regulatory issues.

The talks remain a priority for the European Commission in the final months of its mandate.

It estimates that a transatlantic trade partnership could be worth €120 billion a year to European economies if negotiations go well.

But Kerry's statement comes amid European concern the US could have inside knowledge of EU mandates and tactics due to its spying activities.

Revelations by US leaker Edward Snowden indicate the NSA is not just snooping on millions of ordinary EU citizens, but has also bugged EU embassies and EU leaders, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

France and Germany recently set out plans for a new rulebook on espionage with the US, while President Barack Obama has ordered a review of his intelligence services.

But some top EU officials, such as European Parliament chief Martin Schulz, have said the trade talks should be halted until the NSA affair is cleared up.

Kerry told reporters in Warsaw the US government would work with European counterparts to "strike the right balance between protecting our citizens and, obviously, the privacy of all our citizens."

He added: "We can not only alleviate concerns, but we can actually strengthen our intelligence relationships going forward."

For his part, Sikorski, a keen atlanticist, also warned EU lawmakers against linking free trade with the NSA scandal.

“These are two separate things," he said.

"One [free trade] belongs to Europe itself, to the community. The second one is rather national in character, it depends on individual states vis-a-vis the US," he added.

Merkel to seek intelligence rule book with US

France and Germany plan to negotiate an agreement on the work of intelligence agencies with the US, as the latest revelations of US snooping dominated day one of the EU's October summit.

Opinion

Keeping gas as 'green' in taxonomy vote only helps Russia

Two days before Vladimir Putin launched his illegal war on my home country Ukraine, Russian energy minister Nikolai Shulginov gave an interview addressing the European Commission's taxonomy on sustainable activities — saying he was pleased it kept gas as 'green'.

Column

'War on Women' needs forceful response, not glib statements

Some modest headway in recognising the unrelenting tide of discrimination and violence facing women worldwide was made at last week's largely self-congratulatory and mostly irrelevant G7 talk-fest. But no one mentioned abortion, just days after the Roe vs Wade decision.

Greece defends disputed media and migration track record

UN human rights council says push backs in Greece have become de facto general policy. Reporters without Borders says press freedoms in Greece are among the worst in Europe. Greece's PM refutes both to MEPs in Strasbourg.

Column

'War on Women' needs forceful response, not glib statements

Some modest headway in recognising the unrelenting tide of discrimination and violence facing women worldwide was made at last week's largely self-congratulatory and mostly irrelevant G7 talk-fest. But no one mentioned abortion, just days after the Roe vs Wade decision.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Canadian ministers join forces to combat harmful content online
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers write to EU about new food labelling
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersEmerging journalists from the Nordics and Canada report the facts of the climate crisis
  4. Council of the EUEU: new rules on corporate sustainability reporting
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers for culture: Protect Ukraine’s cultural heritage!
  6. Reuters InstituteDigital News Report 2022

Latest News

  1. Keeping gas as 'green' in taxonomy vote only helps Russia
  2. 'War on Women' needs forceful response, not glib statements
  3. Greece defends disputed media and migration track record
  4. MEPs adopt new digital 'rule book', amid surveillance doubts
  5. 'World is watching', as MEPs vote on green finance rules
  6. Turkey sends mixed signals on Sweden's entry into Nato
  7. EU Parliament sued over secrecy on Nazi MEP expenses
  8. Italy glacier tragedy has 'everything to do' with climate change

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us