EU-US trade agreement talks to be affected by American bugs

Viviane Reding, Vice-President of the EC in charge of Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship (first from right) went to Dublin to participate in the EU/US Justice Ministerial Meeting. Eric Holder, US Attorney General (first from left), and Alan Shatter, Irish Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence also took part in the event. Discussions focused on data protection, rights of victims of crime, judicial cooperation in criminal matters, and judicial cooperation in civil matters (EC Audiovisual Services, 14/06/2013).

Viviane Reding, Vice-President of the European Commission in charge of Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship (first from right) went to Dublin to participate in the EU/US Justice Ministerial Meeting. Eric Holder, US Attorney General (first from left), and Alan Shatter, Irish Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence also took part in the event. Discussions focused on data protection, rights of victims of crime, judicial cooperation in criminal matters, and judicial cooperation in civil matters (EC Audiovisual Services, 14/06/2013).

Bugging EU institutions’ premises and members states’ offices in the US by American secret agencies may seriously affect the progress of negotiations for the conclusion of a Free Trade and Investments Agreement between the two largest trading partners of the world. While the first reactions by EU dignitaries, after the revealing publications by Der Spiegel and The Guardian, didn’t contain references to the possibility of holding back negotiations for the Free Trade Agreement (FTA), yesterday’s developments do not exclude that.

The issue was discussed yesterday in the European Parliament and the Commission College. On both occasions direct or indirect reserves were voiced over the progress of negotiations for the trade agreement. The relevant Press releases issued by the Commission and the EU Parliament contain clear references to the impossibility of continuing negotiations, as if nothing happened, with a trade partner who uses such unorthodox methods. On top of that there were strong reactions by EU member state governments. In Paris the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Laurent Fabius, observed that the French government doesn’t spy on the American mission in France. Strong negative reactions were also recorded in Berlin and other EU capitals. Let’s follow the facts.

The Parliament

Staring from the European Parliament, the EU legislators discussed with top EU leaders the PRISM affair in a house plenary yesterday. Everybody agreed that clarity is urgently needed on the spy scandal. Rebecca Harms (Greens/EFA, DE) called for an immediate halt to preparations to open trade talks with the United States in the wake of press reports that the US might have spied on European institutions both inside and outside the EU. “The talks should not be opened until the magnitude of the problem is checked”, she said. Of course her statement didn’t reflect the opinion of all MEPs, but just the fact that a ‘full stop’ of the FTA negotiations was voiced in the EU Parliament plenary is not a minor thing at all.

Even more important was the intervention of Guy Verhofstadt, leader of the Group of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE). The Belgian ex-Prime Minister advocated the setting up of an inquiry committee and Hannes Swoboda, leader of the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament, said that a data protection package should be in place before trade talks start. The two leaders represent the third and the second largest groups respectively of the European Parliament. Their interventions cannot be ignored.

The Commission

The same mood also prevailed in the Commission College during the discussions on the reported US intelligence activities targeting EU institutions and member states. A Press release issued afterwards concluded like this: “The College (of Commissioners) considered that whilst the beginning of EU/US trade negotiation should not be affected, the EU side will make it clear that for such a comprehensive and ambitious negotiation to succeed, there needs to be confidence, transparency and clarity among the negotiating partners”.

There is no doubt that there will be both short and long-term repercussions on EU – US relations. The beginning of the FTA negotiations will be delayed for sure. In the long-term the European Union will ask for guarantees along the lines of the letter of the US Attorney General Holder to Commission Vice-President Reding and Commissioner Malmström regarding the launch of the EU/US high level expert group on oversight of intelligence activities.

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

the European Sting Milestones

Featured Stings

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

OECD, UN Environment and World Bank call for a radical shift in financing for a low-carbon, climate-resilient future

Innovation is the key to the pay-TV industry’s long-term growth

Global health challenges require global medical students

Theresa May’s global Britain against Philip Hammond’s Brexit fog

Finance for SMEs: Alternative supply mechanisms do exist

German political spillovers: ECB’s Draghi resists first attacks by AfD

Ministers for Youth miss the opportunity to improve social inclusion of young people

The importance of exchanges for the medical students of the world

Is Europe misjudging its abilities to endure more austerity and unemployment?

Roxane in Cambodia

European Commission reacts to the US restrictions on steel and aluminium affecting the EU

Can the world take the risk of a new financial armageddon so that IMF doesn’t lose face towards Tsipras?

Hot air behind your cold fridge? Why the future of cooling must be sustainable

Iran: women hunger strikers entitled to medical care, UN rights experts urge

The unique role of business in building social good

Schengen is losing ground fast revealing Europe’s clear inability to deal with migration crisis

UN Envoy ‘confident’ deal can be reached to avert further violence around key Yemeni port city

New European frontiers for renewable energy development

Connected Claims returns to London in 2018

Draghi left alone with no hope of boosting EU growth as Merkel just focuses on next elections

Syria: UN Humanitarian Coordinator calls for unimpeded access from within the country

Where do health literacy and health policy meet?

Why capital markets have no more reservetions about Eurozone

Does Draghi have another ace up his sleeve given his Quantitative Easing failure?

Cultural tolerance is a must: “No sir, I’m not inferior!”

Palestinian students ‘compelled to drop dreams because of financial cuts’

‘End the ongoing atrocities’ against people with albinism in Malawi, say UN rights experts

Parliament sets up plan to fight the 3,600 criminal rings of EU

MEPs take stock of the EU’s foreign, security and defence policy priorities

UN chemical weapons watchdog adds new powers to assign blame, following attacks

Cameron readies to support ‘yes’ for Britain in the EU

Civilian deaths in Afghanistan hit record high – UN

‘Collective amnesia’ over causes of global financial crash – human rights expert

Employers’ organizations work towards improving the enabling environment for sustainable enterprises

More state aid to big firms, no special provisions for the SMEs

Assembly of European Regions @ European Business Summit 2014: Made in Europe – Made of Regions

UN chief calls for ‘immediate end’ to escalation of fighting in southwestern Syria, as thousands are displaced

‘Stealing’ food from hungry Yemenis ‘must stop immediately’, says UN agency

EU Leaders’ meeting in Sofia: Completing a trusted Digital Single Market for the benefit of all

Financial Transaction Tax: More money for future bank bailouts?

Financing the 2030 Agenda: What is it and why is it important?

“A sustainable economy, low-carbon, resource-efficient, resilient and more competitive on the global stage”, EU Commissioner Vella in a Sting Exclusive

EU Trade Ministers come together in a desperate attempt to save TTIP

The EU Consumer Policy on the Digital Market: A Behavioral Economics View

EU lawmakers vote to reintroduce visas for Americans over “reciprocity principle”

Eurozone dignitaries play with people’s life savings

EU-China trade: closer ties as US-China trade battle brews

Four ways innovation can help to beat heart disease

UN rights chief denounces Burundi for ‘belligerent and defamatory’ attack on inquiry team

IMF: European banks do not perform their duty to real economy

You’ve heard of 5G, but what about the quantum internet?

Eurozone close to agreeing on a Banking Union

Europe enters uncharted waters with Kiev-Moscow standoff

Top UN official urges Russia and Ukraine to step away from further confrontation at sea

Tools of asset development: Renewable Energy Projects case

Yemen consultations have started, insists top UN negotiator

3 autonomous vehicle trends to follow in 2019

Better housing means better health and well-being, stress new WHO guidelines

The 28 EU leaders unable to start a relevant debate on migration and Brexit

How dearly will Germany pay for the Volkswagen emissions rigging scandal

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s