Revelations regarding the Edward Snowden affair has fired up relations between the European Union and the United States. French President Francois Hollande demanded an explanation from Washington and asked for the spying program to stop, calling it ‘intolerable.’
While Edward Snowden is still on the run, Washington is bombarded by questions from angry European leaders. The EU has demanded that the United States explain to them why Washington is spying on them. The revelations were reported in the German magazine Der Spiegel and in the Guardian in Britain.
German chancellor, Angela Merkel and French president, Francois Hollande, called the disclosures of massive US spying “unacceptable”.
The allegations, reported Sunday, threaten trade negotiations between partners; U.S and EU officials are meeting next week to begin talks about a trans-Atlantic free trade agreement. Francois Hollande warned that the surveillance has to stop immediately before negotiations can continue.
The French president declared, “we know there are systems that need to be monitored, notably in the battle against terrorism, but I don´t think this risk exists within our embassies or the European Union”. Foreign Minister from France, Laurent Fabious has to contact the U.S. ambassador in Paris “to make the point that we cannot tolerate this kind of behavior between allies and friends”.
The situation is escalating quickly as the German government said it wants “trust restored”. The German magazine reported that NSA monitors half a billion phone calls, emails and text messages in Germany in a regular month, the same data monitored from China and Iraq. That makes Germany the main target within the EU of the NSA´s Prism program.
German Justice Minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger commented, “if the media reports are correct, then it is a reminiscent of methods used by enemies during the cold war. It defies belief that our friends in the US see the Europeans as enemies”.
President of the EU Parliament, Martin Schulz, told French radio, “I was always sure that dictatorships, some authoritarian systems, tried to listen, but measures like that are now practiced by an ally, by a friend, that is shocking, if it is true”, Reuters reported.
The foreign minister of Luxemburg Jean Asselborn, said, “The Americans justify everything with combating terrorism” and “The EU and its diplomats are not terrorists”, he qualified the program as disgusting.
The head of the social democrats in the European parliament, Hannes Swoboda from Austria, said “We demand full disclosure on the alleged bugging and wire-tapping of the EU representatives by the US authorities”
The Guardian revealed that NSA has also targeted Japan, South Korea and India for spying. The revelations came as John Kerry arrived on Monday to Brunei for a security conference. Secretary of state Kerry, said “every country in the world that is engaged in international affairs of national security undertakes numerous methods to protect its national security and various types of information contribute to it.”
Italy was also very critical about the surveillance program, and said through the foreign Minister Emma Bonino, we demand “necessary clarifications for this very thorny issue.”.
Elmar Brok, chairman of the foreign affairs committee in the European Parliament said, “the spying has reached dimensions that I didn´t think were possible in a democratic country. Such behavior among allies is intolerable”.
Revelations about the surveillance program have created controversy between privacy rights and national security, and now about international loyalty and security. The program has damaged the image of the US and this might be time to reconsider it and stop it, once and for all.
By: Oskar Guzman
SOURCE: REUTERS, the Guardian,