• Germany edition
 
Merkel: relations with US not 'one-way street'
Photo:DPA

Merkel: relations with US not 'one-way street'

Published: 25 Oct 2013 16:23 GMT+02:00
Updated: 25 Oct 2013 16:23 GMT+02:00

She made the comments following a meeting of the European Commission in Brussels.

Merkel said EU member states had agreed on the importance of co-operation between US and European intelligence services in ensuring the safety of citizens. However she added that "rather than making co-operation easier, mistrust makes it more difficult."

She also announced that Germany and France intended to redefine their security co-operation with the US by the end of this year.

However the chancellor deflected questions about her telephone conversation with US President Barack Obama, by stressing: "The American president is always well prepared and we are united by a now long-standing relationship, which includes occasional differences of opinion."

Merkel's comments follow the revelation on Friday that the tapping of her phone may have been directed a few hundred metres away from the seat of the German government at the US embassy in Berlin.

The Süddeutsche Zeitung claimed Merkel’s phone tapping was possibly being conducted from a listening station which was part of the Special Collection Service (SCS) – an eavesdropping programme run by the CIA and NSA at the US embassy on Pariser Platz.

The embassy is around 500 metres from the German parliament and government buildings including her office, the Kanzleramt.

It said the suspicions arose from documents provided by whistleblower Edward Snowden, a former NSA contractor - who leaked documents exposing a mass surveillance programme by the NSA.

When asked by The Local, the embassy declined to comment.

On Friday Germany and France called on Washington to agree on rules in the spy game after revelations the US tapped German Chancellor Angela Merkel's mobile phone.

The call was made at a European Union summit in Brussels where leaders were supposed to be discussing economics and immigration until it emerged on Wednesday night that the US National Security Agency (NSA) had likely spied on Merkel's phone.

Leaders "took note of the intention of France and Germany to seek bilateral talks with the US", EU President Herman Van Rompuy told a press conference after a first day of summit talks wrapped up.

Van Rompuy said other countries could join Berlin and Paris should they wish in seeking this trust-based "understanding" with the United States "before the end of the year" in the field of intelligence gathering.

In a statement in the early hours of Friday morning, the leaders of the 28-state EU "underlined the close relationship between Europe and the USA and the value of

that partnership."

They "expressed their conviction that the partnership must be based on respect and trust, including as concerns the work and cooperation of secret services."

Merkel had arrived at the two-day talks saying: "Spying between friends, that's just not done" after reports the US National Security Agency had eavesdropped her calls.

"We need trust between partners and such trust needs to be re-established," she said.

The story is unlikely to go away any time soon, with Britain's Guardian saying Washington had listened in on the phone conversations of 35 world leaders.

Meanwhile, an advisor to President Obama acknowledged that US surveillance

had created "significant" challenges with its allies.

"Though we collect the same sort of intelligence as all nations, our intelligence community has more restrictions and oversight than in any other country in history," Lisa Monaco, assistant to the president on homeland security and counterterrorism, wrote in an opinion article in American newspaper USA Today.

Recent disclosures "have created significant challenges in our relationships with some of our closest foreign partners," Monaco said.

Monaco added that "the president has directed us to review our surveillance capabilities, including with respect to our foreign partners."

In Washington earlier, White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters: "We are not going to comment publicly on every specified alleged intelligence activity," noting that all nations spy on each other.

Hollande and Merkel called Obama earlier this week demanding clarification of claims the NSA had spied on millions of French phone calls and on the German leader personally.

The French president said there had to be a code of conduct put in place, recalling that the EU had set up a special unit to review the issue after leaks by fugitive former US intelligence contractor Edward Snowden earlier this year.

These experts have to "accelerate their work with our American allies", Hollande said, because "this is a subject which is not going away."

"We need to get results," he said, adding that in the end, Snowden's revelations may prove useful.

White House spokesman Jay Carney refused to say whether Washington was at fault.

"We are not going to comment publicly on every specified alleged intelligence activity," Carney said, noting too that all nations spy on each other.

Friday's summit is supposed to tackle an immigration crisis highlighted by the deaths of hundreds of desperate refugees trying to reach Europe's shores but the spying scandal could easily take the headlines again as more revelations come through.

READ MORE: Germany believes US National Security Agency tapped Merkel's phone

AFP/kkf

Follow us on Twitter @thelocalgermany

Like The Local Germany on Facebook

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
JobTalk Germany
'Three types of firms are hiring foreigners'
Photo: Shutterstock

'Three types of firms are hiring foreigners'

What kind of companies are hiring foreigners in Germany? And which type of firm should you target for your next career move? Recruitment expert Chris Pyak reveals all to JobTalk. READ  

Lufthansa pilots strike at Frankfurt Airport again
Passengers will have to adjust their travel plans on Tuesday. Photo: DPA

Lufthansa pilots strike at Frankfurt Airport again

Pilots are planning to continue their wave of strikes with a day-long action at Frankfurt Airport on Tuesday. READ  

Mushroom pickers find human skull
Photo: DPA

Mushroom pickers find human skull

Two mushroom pickers in central Germany found a human skull and bones in the woods on Saturday. READ  

Eurosceptics celebrate huge eastern gains
AfD leader Bernd Lucke celebrates on Sunday night. Photo: DPA

Eurosceptics celebrate huge eastern gains

UPDATE: Germany's anti-euro party celebrated huge gains in elections in two eastern states on Sunday night, in a show of strength that spells a growing threat for Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives. READ  

Merkel: 'Jewish life is part of German identity'
Merkel speaking on Sunday at the rally in Berlin. Photo: DPA

Merkel: 'Jewish life is part of German identity'

Chancellor Angela Merkel vowed on Sunday to resolutely combat anti-Semitism, speaking at a rally to condemn a spate of hate speech and attacks against Jews in Germany during the latest Gaza conflict. READ  

UK, US spies can access telecom records: report
Deutsche Telekom's network can reportedly be accessed by the NSA and GCHQ. Photo: DPA

UK, US spies can access telecom records: report

The US National Security Agency and British intelligence services are able to secretly access data from telecoms giant Deutsche Telekom and several other German operators, according to Der Spiegel magazine. READ  

Germany soldiers head to Iraqi Kurdistan
German soldiers on deployment in Afghanistan. Photo: DPA

Germany soldiers head to Iraqi Kurdistan

Berlin is preparing to send around 40 soldiers to northern Iraq to train Kurdish fighters battling against militants from the Islamic State, the German army said on Saturday. READ  

German LGBT activist badly beaten in Belgrade
Gay rights activists in Belgrade in 2013. Photo: DPA

German LGBT activist badly beaten in Belgrade

A German man who participated at a conference on LGBT rights was in intensive care Saturday after he was severely beaten by unknown attackers in Belgrade, a doctor said. READ  

Pharma giant Bayer in contempt: US
Photo: DPA

Pharma giant Bayer in contempt: US

The United States government accused German pharmaceutical giant Bayer of making scientifically unproven statements about the health benefits of a popular probiotic on Friday. READ  

German newspaper targeted by neo-Nazis
Photo: DPA

German newspaper targeted by neo-Nazis

The Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe said on Friday that neo-Nazi vandalism and threats against a local newspaper in eastern Germany were "unacceptable and must be stopped". READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Election night in Brandenburg and Thuringia
Photo: DPA
Berlin
Berlin spy station sees tourism boom
Photo: DPA
Politics
Germany officially bans terror group Isis
Photo: DPA/ESA
Tech
VIDEO: How one German astronaut sees Earth
Photo: DPA
Berlin
Frisky couple shock Berlin commuters
Photo: DPA
Politics
Are Germans right to want cooler relations with USA?
Marks & Spencer
Sponsored Article
Fashion Ladies of the Local: Win a New Autumn Look
Photo: Bayernpartei/DPA
Politics
Why some Bavarians want a Scottish 'Yes'
Photo: DPA
Gallery
12 things to do in Berlin for less than a latte
Photo: DPA
Berlin
Should you still use banned Uber?
Photo: Facebook
National
Bavarian waiter breaks beer-carrying record
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Photos: Bomb forces 14,000 from homes
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Ten German place names that make us giggle
Sponsored Article
Bilingual education from nursery to graduation at Phorms
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

3,255
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd