Spy not!

angieBRUSSELS – European Union leaders meeting in Brussels say

distrust of the United States over spying could harm the fight

against terrorism.

A statement agreed by the leaders says that “a lack of trust

could prejudice” intelligence-gathering co-operation.

France and Germany are pushing for talks with the America

to find a new “understanding” by the year-end.

A number of allegations against American intelligence agents

have surfaced this week, including the bugging of German

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s phone.

In addition there have been claims that the US National

Security Agency (NSA) monitored millions of French telephone


Yesterday, the British Guardian newspaper also reported

that it had obtained a confidential memo from the NSA

suggesting it had monitored the phones of 35 world leaders.

The latest revelations have been sourced to American

whistleblower Edward Snowden, the former intelligence

contractor who fled the country earlier this year and is now in


They overshadowed other issues at the EU summit in

Brussels, including the Mediterranean migration problem, which

framed the agenda of today’s talks.

Italian authorities said they had intercepted some 800

migrants trying to cross the Mediterranean as the EU leaders

prepared to meet.

The statement of heads of state or government, released

today, reflects the EU leaders’ conclusions following their talks


It says the recent intelligence issues had raised “deep

concerns” among European citizens. The statement says the

leaders “underlined the close relationship between Europe and

the USA and the value of that partnership”.

It continues: “[The leaders] stressed that intelligencegathering

is a vital element in the fight against terrorism.”

And it went on: “A lack of trust could prejudice the

necessary cooperation in the field of intelligence-gathering.”

Belgium’s Prime Minister Elio di Rupo said: “The objective

must remain the same – to fight against terrorism but also

respect privacy.

“Everyone can understand the need for exceptional

measures given the danger of terrorism . . . but we are not in

the position where we should spy on each other.” (BBC)

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