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UK blocks EU-US espionage talks

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Britain has blocked talks between the US and the European Union on the US spying on the EU saying the bloc has no authority to discuss Americans’ methods to safeguard their national security.

The EU and the US were to form two working groups on intelligence and espionage and on data privacy and the US National Security Agency’s Prism program and sit down for talks in Washington on Monday for talks.

However, only the latter part will be on the agenda and one working group is formed after Britain and Sweden vetoed the EU attempts to demand explanations from the American officials on revelations of espionage.

The disclosures on the British-American coalition to spy on the former’s EU allies has led to a crisis of confidence over the past months with Germany and France, among other EU nations, calling for US explanations on the matter.

France even threatened Washington to end crucial trade talks between the EU and the US over the spying scandal.

However, the two sides will now only discuss Prism and data privacy and even these round of talks are designed to help German and French leaders save face in the public after their criticism of the US.

“Intelligence matters and those of national security are not the competence of the EU,” European Commission President José Manuel Barroso said, echoing Britain’s objection.

Based on the new decision, any talks on espionage matters will be held between the US and European governments separately if the two sides agree to do so.


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