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Dublin: 14 °C Wednesday 30 July, 2014

European Commission expects ‘clarity and transparency’ from US over spying claims

In a statement today the Commission said that the allegations that offices in Brussels and the United States were targeted, “demand full clarification”.

File photo of President Barack Obama, flanked by European Council President Herman Van Rompuy, left, and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso.
File photo of President Barack Obama, flanked by European Council President Herman Van Rompuy, left, and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso.
Image: Haraz N Ghanbari/AP/PA

THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION has said that reports of US surveillance of EU premises are “disturbing news if proven true”.

In a statement today the Commission said that the allegations by German weekly Der Spiegal, that offices in Brussels and the United States were targeted, “demand full clarification”.

The newspaper reported that microphones were installed in a building in Washington and the computer network was also infiltrated, giving the the National Security Agency access to emails and internal documents. It also claimed that the EU delegation at the United Nations was subject to similar surveillance.

As soon as the media reports about alleged spying and eavesdropping on EU premises and delegations were made known, the Commission asked the European External Action Service to immediately raise the matter with the US authorities in Washington DC and in Brussels to verify the veracity of these reports.

The Commission said that the EU is now expecting to hear from the US authorites. “Clarity and transparency is what we expect from partners and allies, and this is what we expect from the US,” it said.

A spokesperson for the Commission said sensitive commission premises are regularly swept and communications networks are checked against spying and eaves-dropping and since the allegations were made, President Barroso has ordered a sweep by the “competent authorities”.

At a press briefing earlier today, another spokesperson said the allegations were “news to us”. He added that the documents mentioned in reports date back to 2010 and even as far back as 2007 and since then, delegations have moved buildings.

Responding to allegations, US President Barack Obama promised today to respond to all of his European allies’ concerns over the alleged bugging once he had all the facts.

- Additional reporting from AFP.

Related: Row over US ‘bugging’ of EU offices>

Read: Ed Snowden applies for asylum in Russia, Putin: He can stay if he stops leaking>

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