BERLIN, July 3 (Xinhua) -- The European Union (EU) is "committed to the transatlantic partnership" but wants working groups to be set up to probe the U.S. spying scandal, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said Wednesday on the free trade talks between the EU and the United States.
"There can't be opening of trade negotiations without there being at the same time... an opening of discussions with the U.S. on the activity of the intelligence services in our countries and protection of private data," Barroso was quoted by AFP as saying.
Last Saturday, the German magazine Der Spiegel reported on its website that the U.S. National Security Agency had tapped EU offices and gained access to EU internal computer networks. The magazine said its report was based on confidential documents.
The allegations cast shadow on the EU-U.S. trade talks scheduled to start in Washington on Monday.
French President Francois Hollande earlier this week called on Washington to offer Paris and its European allies guarantees on the spying issue before continuing free trade negotiations. The French government on Wednesday called to temporarily suspend the trade talks for two weeks.
But German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the negotiations should go ahead and the working groups should begin their work at the same time.
PARIS, July 2 (Xinhua) -- French President Francois Hollande on Tuesday pointed to the necessity to forge a common European position to answer U.S. spying allegations.
In a joint press meeting with Lithuanian president Dalia Grybauskaite, Hollande said "it is necessary for Europe to have a coordinated, common position against the requirements that we have to make, the explanations we have to ask." Full story
HAVANA, July 3 (Xinhua) -- Cuba on Wednesday criticized the European governments that reportedly barred Bolivian President Evo Morales' plane from their airspace on suspicion he was trying to sneak U.S. intelligence leaker Edward Snowden into Latin America.
"That decision offends all Latin America and the Caribbean," the Cuban Foreign Ministry said in a statement published by the official daily Granma. Full story
MOSCOW, July 1 (Xinhua) -- Fugitive U.S. citizen Edward Snowden has asked for political asylum in Russia, the Foreign Ministry said Monday. The Kremlin made no comments over the latest developments.
"British citizen Sarah Harrison who acted on behalf of the U.S. citizen Edward Snowden arrived at the consular office of the Foreign Ministry in the Sheremetyevo airport. She has handed over to the Russian diplomats Snowden's request about granting him political asylum in Russia," the Interfax news agency quoted consular officer Kim Shevchenko as saying. Full story
BERLIN, July 1 (Xinhua) -- The German government on Monday said that Berlin felt surprised and "alienated" by media reports of cold-war-style U.S. spying on European nations. "We are no longer in the Cold War," a government spokeman said.
"If media reports of spying on European nations by U.S. intelligence are confirmed, there must be consequences," said German government spokesman Steffen.