Sunday

25th Sep 2022

Germany spied on France and EU commission: Report

  • The German intelligence agency reportedly spied on French and EU officials from the Bad Aibling spying station in Bavaria (Photo: Johannes W. Dietrich)

German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government has been embarrassed by reports that the country's intelligence service was spying on France and the European Commission for the US National security agency (NSA).

According to the Sueddeutsche Zeitung newspaper on Thursday (30 April), the BND, the German intelligence service, listened in on officials from the French presidency and foreign affairs ministry, as well as the EU Commission.

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

Phone tapping was done from the BND’s Bad Aibling spying station in Bavaria and information was transmitted to the NSA under an agreement signed in 2002, writes the Sueddeutsche Zeitung.

The newspaper does not specify when and for how long spying on France and the EU occurred.

Bad Aibling station is a former US espionage base handed over to the BND in 2004, where the NSA kept a secret office, according to earlier reports by Der Spiegel magazine.

These revelations come after reports that the BND also spied on European companies such as defence companies EADS and Eurocopter and that the Chancellor’s office was aware of the situation since at least 2008.


In 2008 and 2010, the BND sent notes to Angela Merkel’s chief of staff at the time, Thomas de Maiziere, who is now Germany’s Interior minister.

De Maiziere, one of Merkel’s closest allies, is now being accused of lying for saying last August the Chancellery had no information on German spying for the NSA.

In an ironic twist, the scale of German-US intelligence cooperation came to light because the Bundestag’s intelligence committee has been investigating claims that the NSA had wiretapped Merkel’s mobile phone.

Companies were spied on because "the US was looking for clues on illegal exports", writes the Sueddeutsche Zeitung.

The potentially most damaging revelation for Merkel, however, is that Germany spied on its closest ally, France, and on the EU, for another power whose interest are not always convergent with Germany’s, France’s or the EU’s interests.

"The core of the issue is the political espionage of our European neighbours and of the EU institutions," a German official is quoted as saying by the Sueddeutsche Zeitung.

Neither France nor the EU Commission have reacted yet.

At a debate at the European parliament on Tuesday (28 April), before the latest informations, Justice commissioner Vera Jourova said intelligence was a national, not a EU competence.

"Many facts remain unexplained. The problem of cooperation between member states’ intelligence services has to be resolved by member states in priority," she said.

Merkel and Obama bury hatchet on US spying

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

German spy scandal deepens

According to new reports, BND spied on allies on its own initiative, despite Merkel's opinion that spying among friends "is not done".

News in Brief

  1. More Russians now crossing Finnish land border
  2. Report: EU to propose €584bn energy grid upgrade plan
  3. Morocco snubs Left MEPs probing asylum-seeker deaths
  4. EU urges calm after Putin's nuclear threat
  5. Council of Europe rejects Ukraine 'at gunpoint' referendums
  6. Lithuania raises army alert level after Russia's military call-up
  7. Finland 'closely monitoring' new Russian mobilisation
  8. Flights out of Moscow sell out after Putin mobilisation order

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDA - Soft Drinks EuropeCall for EU action – SMEs in the beverage industry call for fairer access to recycled material
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic prime ministers: “We will deepen co-operation on defence”
  3. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBConstruction workers can check wages and working conditions in 36 countries
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Canadian ministers join forces to combat harmful content online
  5. European Centre for Press and Media FreedomEuropean Anti-SLAPP Conference 2022
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers write to EU about new food labelling

Latest News

  1. Ireland joins EU hawks on Russia, as outrage spreads
  2. Editor's weekly digest: Plea for support edition
  3. Investors in renewables face uncertainty due to EU profits cap
  4. How to apply the Nuremberg model for Russian war crimes
  5. 'No big fish left' for further EU sanctions on Russians
  6. Meloni's likely win will not necessarily strengthen Orbán
  7. France latest EU member to step up government spending in 2023
  8. Big Tech now edges out Big Energy in EU lobbying

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us