European nations seek explanation from US on spying row

French President Emmanuel Macron calls for clarity and urges transparency and resolution of the matter, reports Asian Lite News

European countries have demanded an explanation from the US and Denmark as soon as possible on reports that the American intelligence agency had used Danish infrastructure to spy on top politicians, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

On Sunday, Denmark’s national broadcaster DR News said in a report that Danish Defense Intelligence Service (FE) has given the US National Security Agency (NSA) open internet access to spy on senior politicians of European countries including Germany, Sweden, Norway, and France.

In response to the report, Danish Minister of Defence Trine Bramsen had said that the government will not “enter into speculation about any intelligence matters from the press or others… Systematic wiretapping of close allies is unacceptable”

But French President Emmanuel Macron on Monday called for “clarity” and urged “complete transparency and resolution of the matter by our Danish and American partners”.

This “is unacceptable between allies, even less between allies and European partners”, he added.

Meanwhile, Merkel said she “could only agree” with Macron’s comments, adding she was “reassured” by Bramsen’s condemnation of any such spying.

Besides Merkel, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and the candidate for chancellor Peer Steinbrueck were among those the NSA had spied on, the DR News report said.

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier (Wikipedia)

“It is grotesque that friendly intelligence services are indeed intercepting and spying on top representatives of other countries,” Steinbrueck told German broadcaster ARD on Monday.

“Politically I consider it a scandal.”

In Paris, French Minister for European Affairs Clement Beaune told France Info radio that the DR report needed to be checked and that, if confirmed, it would be a “serious” matter.

“These potential facts, they are serious. They must be checked,” he said, adding there could be “some diplomatic protests”.

Jens Holm, a member of the Swedish Parliament, called on investigation into “who exactly was monitored, when and how”.

“This is extremely outrageous,” Holms told local media, adding that the situation elicits memories of the Cold War.

The governments of Norway and Sweden are pressing the Danish government and demanding immediate answers about the alleged NSA espionage through Danish cables.

Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg said her government has asked Denmark “for all the information they have”.

Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg (Wikipedia)

“It’s unacceptable if countries which have close allied cooperation feel the need to spy on one another,” she told public broadcaster NRK.

Norway’s Defence Minister Frank Bakke-Jensen also told broadcaster NRK that the country takes the allegations seriously.

Swedish Minister of Defence Peter Hultqvist said on state broadcaster SVT on Sunday that he “asked to be fully informed about matters concerning Swedish citizens, companies and interests.”

“And then we have to see how the answer sounds from a political side in Denmark,” Hultqvist said, adding that he had been “in contact with Denmark’s Defence Minister to ask if Danish platforms have been used to spy on Swedish politicians”.

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