WASHINGTON: “Friends do not spy on friends” said Mr Brok on the occasion of an official visit of the European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee in Washington.
“We agree with our American partners that it is vitally important to cooperate in the fight against terrorism. Any surveillance done in this context, however, has to be clearly framed and carried out on the basis of reasonable suspicion.
“Massive spying on citizens of allied countries is unacceptable. Trust in the transatlantic partnership has been seriously damaged and has to be rebuilt. It is our joint responsibility as lawmakers to restore this trust by putting limits to the activities of intelligence services”.
According to Mr Brok action is needed on three levels – a EU/US agreement protecting the privacy of citizens and allowing for equal rights in terms of information and judicial redress rights for European and American citizens, continuation of intelligence cooperation between EU Member states and the USA on counterterrorism under democratic oversight, and negotiation of bilateral agreements guaranteeing that within the transatlantic partnership friends do not spy on friends.
“Our visit has been extremely useful in conveying to our American friends the urgency to restore the trust between the two sides of the Atlantic. This is crucial at a time when we are negotiating such a wide ranging agreement as the TTIP. The message has been well heard and we already see signals that it is being taken very seriously”.