HIGHLIGHTS-EU leaders react to U.S. spying allegations

BRUSSELS Thu Oct 24, 2013 10:47am EDT

BRUSSELS Oct 24 (Reuters) - German and French accusations that the United States has run spying operations in their countries are likely to dominate a meeting of EU leaders starting on Thursday.

Here are the reactions of EU leaders arriving in Brussels for the summit:

GERMAN CHANCELLOR ANGELA MERKEL

"I have, since we have been speaking about the NSA, made it clear to the president of the United States that spying on friends is not acceptable at all.

"I said that when he was in Berlin in July and also yesterday in a telephone call.

"It's not just about me but about every German citizen. We need to have trust in our allies and partners and this trust must now be established once again.

"To this end, we need to ask what we need, which data security agreements we need, what transparency we need between the United States of America and Europe.

"We are allies facing challenges together. But such an alliance can only be built on the basis of trust.

"I repeat that spying among friends is not at all acceptable against anyone and that goes for every citizen in Germany."

BELGIAN PRIME MINISTER ELIO DI RUPO

"Facts are facts. We cannot accept this systematic spying, whatever it may be. We need to take measures and I can't imagine measures at the national level. We need to take European measures."

DUTCH PRIME MINISTER MARK RUTTE

"This is serious. I will support her (Merkel) completely in her complaint and say that this is not acceptable. I think we need all the facts on the table first.

"We have done research, also in Europe, into what data the NSA has or has not collected. Once we have these facts, we can take the next steps."

FINLAND'S PRIME MINISTER JYRKI KATAINEN

"We have to get clarification of what has happened and we also need a guarantee that this will never happen again if it has happened."

SWEDEN'S PRIME MINISTER FREDRIK REINFELDT

"Our capacity to search for this kind of information is to hinder terrorism, criminal activities, the risk of war. That should be clear.

"We are doing this, but it's actually to preserve the freedom, our openness in our societies. It should not be used to listen to each other, when we look at elected leaders."

AUSTRIA'S VICE CHANCELLOR MICHAEL SPINDELEGGER

"We will not accept that data from Austria is hoovered up and analysed other than when there is a legal basis for doing so.

"It's clear that, in particular between countries that are on friendly terms, you can't simply listen in on people's conversations and hoover up and analyse data, other than when there is really a mutual basis for so doing.

"We Europeans should be self-confident in making this clear to the U.S. We must build up a relationship of trust with the U.S., which has been damaged."

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