Tuesday

5th 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

The Digital Services Act — a case-study in keeping public in dark

Companies and lobby groups like Spotify, Google and International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) were able to lobby member states using live knowledge of the trilogue discussions on content-ranking systems, advertising and liability for search engines.

Opinion

Is China a challenge to Nato? Beijing responds

The Chinese mission to the EU responds to last week's Madrid Nato summit, which stated China posed "systemic challenges" and warned against the "deepening strategic partnership between Russia and China".

News in Brief

  1. European gas production hit by Norway strike
  2. EU Commission told to step up fight against CAP fraud
  3. Ukraine needs €719bn to rebuild, says PM
  4. Germany records first monthly trade deficit since 1991
  5. Pilots from Denmark, Norway, and Sweden strike
  6. Report: EU to sign hydrogen deal with Namibia
  7. Israel and Poland to mend relations
  8. Von der Leyen: EU to set up Ukraine reconstruction platform

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. EU Parliament sued over secrecy on Nazi MEP expenses
  2. Italy glacier tragedy has 'everything to do' with climate change
  3. The Digital Services Act — a case-study in keeping public in dark
  4. Report slams German opposition to new child sexual abuse rules
  5. Is China a challenge to Nato? Beijing responds
  6. ECB announces major green shift in corporate bond-buying
  7. Ex-Frontex chief 'uninvited' from parliament committee
  8. Czech presidency and key nuclear/gas vote This WEEK

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us