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German Chancellor Angela Merkel has demanded that Washington give Germany clarity over the future of the NSA in the country, stating that the practice had put transatlantic ties “to the test.” “The allegations are grave,” she said.
Merkel kicked off the session by tackling the controversial issue of the US tapping her personal phone calls and the “millions” of associated NSA data intrusions on German soil. She labeled the clarification as “the basis for the creation of a new transatlantic confidence,” speaking in the Bundestag on Monday.
Merkel continued to state that “therefore also the negotiations for a free trade agreement are presently, without doubt, being put to the test,” adding that “new confidence must be built” in the future.
“The silence means there are all sorts of conspiracy theories,” added Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich.
The Bundestag address was intended chiefly to address EU relations with eastern European states – specifically Ukraine. Germany and Ukraine have arranged to sign a deal towards the end of November, in what would be seen as a major step for Ukraine to enter the bloc. However, Elmar Brok, chair of the EU's Committee on Foreign Affairs has told Deutsche Welt that without the release of Yulia Tymoshenko for medical treatment there wouldn’t be an agreement.
However, the speakers focused predominantly on German relations with America, the role of NSA whistleblower, Edward Snowden, and whether he should be offered asylum in Germany.