Tuesday

31st May 2016

Merkel rival demands halt of EU-US talks

  • Steinbrueck. According to Der Spiegel, the US is also spying on UN offices (Photo: SPD Pankow)

Peer Steinbrueck, a candidate to be Germany's next Chancellor, has demanded to halt EU-US trade negotiations amid revelations that Washington is spying on its European allies.

"I would interrupt the negotiations until the Americans say if German government offices and European institutions are bugged or wiretapped," Steinbrueck said on Sunday (24 August) in an interview with public broadcaster ARD.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

He noted that the current government, run by Angela Merkel, is trying to cover up the scandal and that it makes no sense to negotiate on sensitive trade issues when the US can know at any point what the EU is discussing internally.

"We don't know if the Americans may be sitting under our desks with some technical devices," Steinbrueck said.

The Social-Democrat described the spying affair as detrimental to German companies which stand to lose their competitive advantage if the Americans are involved in "economic surveillance."

"Merkel is saying one thing about all this: Let's wait. I don't think a Chancellor should wait when civil liberties are at stake," Steinbrueck said.

Merkel has so far maintained she has no evidence the US violated German law and that her team is now negotiating a bilateral no-spying pact with America.

But Steinbrueck says the pact is lipservice to German concerns and will not prevent the US from carrying on with spying activities.

Meanwhile, documents leaked to Der Spiegel by Edward Snowden, the former US security contractor who has fled to Russia, reveal that US secret services also bugged the offices of the United Nations in New York, along with EU offices in the city.

Last summer, the National Security Agency (NSA) cracked the encryption of the videoconference system in the UN headquarters - an illegal activity since the US has signed an agreement with the UN not to carry out any spying on its premises, Der Spiegel reports.

The documents obtained by the German magazine also show that over 80 US embassies and consulates abroad, including the US consulate in Frankfurt, are involved in a spying programme called Special Collection Service, which is carried out without the host country knowing anything about it.

The existence of this programme has to be kept secret, according to the Snowden documents. Else it would "bring considerable damage to relations with the host country," Spiegel quotes from one document.

Analysis

How Portugal's leftist 'contraption' works

After six months in power, the improvised left-wing coalition between socialists, leftists and communists has managed to rule and even thrived, to many Portuguese's surprise.

News in Brief

  1. Hungary reinforces fence on Serbian border
  2. Juncker to seek renewed backing for TTIP talks
  3. EP president rules out return to German politics
  4. Austrian far-right wants to probe election fraud accusations
  5. Irish PM warns Brexit could bring back border controls
  6. Truckmakers risk record cartel fine
  7. London mayor teams up with British PM on Brexit
  8. Syrian refugees sue Denmark over immigration law

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. ACCAEducation and Training 2020 - Giving Young People the Workplace Skills They Need
  2. EPSUTrade Unions Back New Undeclared Work Platform
  3. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceCould targeting children’s fitness boost academic performance?
  4. World VisionDeclares the World Humanitarian Summit a Positive Step in a Longer Journey to Ending Need
  5. EJCPresident Dr. Moshe Kantor on Brexit and the Jewish Question
  6. Swedish EnterprisesNew rules for posted workers - Better Protection or the End of Posting ?
  7. World VisionWhy The EU Needs to Put Children at the Centre of Emergencies - In Their Words
  8. ACCASustainability Reporting in Danger of Losing Its Momentum Says ACCA and CDSB
  9. Dialogue PlatformDiversity as Heritage of Humanity! Join the “Colors of the World“ Show at the EP
  10. Centre Maurits CoppietersNew Responses to the Basque Peace Process? MEP Juaristi on Stateless Challenges Conference
  11. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceImproving Cardiovascular Health Begins by Closing the Gap in Sex Disparities
  12. IPHRBrussels Talks to Take Stock of Human Rights in Turkmenistan

Latest News

  1. EU watchdog calls for fines on shady lobbyists
  2. 2015 was 'a bad year' for EU human rights
  3. Deal with Greece will not work, says Guy Verhofstadt
  4. Greece says it cannot fulfil demands for loans
  5. Juncker agrees to visit Russia in June
  6. Pro-Brexit Tories predict Cameron leadership challenge
  7. Merkel and Hollande pledge unity at Verdun ceremony
  8. Russia mocks ex-Nato chief's new Kiev job