U.S. and European Union trade talks in jeopardy

In our July issue Dr. Manfred Bayerlein, CEO of TÜV Rheinland, comments on the benefits of a proposed free trade agreement between the EU and the United States, which could help manufacturers on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean while financially benefiting U.S. and European households. (Read the article online here.) However, Reuters is reporting that the free-trade talks could be in jeopardy because of reports in Der Spiegel that the U.S. Secret Service had tapped EU offices in Washington and Brussels and at the United Nations.

“Partners do not spy on each other,” Reuters quotes the European commissioner for justice and fundamental rights, Viviane Reding, as saying. “We cannot negotiate over a big transatlantic market if there is the slightest doubt that our partners are carrying out spying activities on the offices of our negotiators.”

Spiegel Online quotes Luxembourgian Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn as saying, “If these reports are true, then it is abhorrent. It would seem that the secret services have gotten out of control. The U.S. should monitor their own secret services rather than their allies.”

Spiegel further quotes German Justice Minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger as saying on Sunday, “If media reports are correct, then it is reminiscent of methods used by enemies during the Cold War. It defies belief that our friends in the U.S. see the Europeans as their enemies. There has to finally be an immediate and comprehensive explanation from the U.S. as to whether media reports about completely unacceptable surveillance measures of the U.S. in the EU are true or not. Comprehensive spying on Europeans by Americans cannot be allowed.”

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