27 Octobr - 2 novmbr, 2013
(Continued from Page 01)
In parallel with the EU summit in Brus-sels, a special “Task Force”, composed of representatives from all the Mediterraneancountries, the most afflicted by illegal im-migration, met on Friday morning in Rome,together with representatives from Frontex. Asked in Brussels, at the press confer-ence concluding the summit, whether con-crete measures are envisaged, such as en-hancing the funding of the two institutions, both Barroso and Van Rompuy passed theresponsibility to the Task Force. The Task Force will have to come with concrete pro-posals by the end of the year, and decisions will only be taken at the June 2014 EU sum-mit, time enough for the Mediterranean seato become a real mass grave.Concerning relations with Ukraine, bothBarroso and Van Rompuy talked tough, sug-gesting that Kiev might after all not sign thepromised Association agreement with theEU. Van Rompuy said that Kiev “knows whatto do” in order to stop applying “selective jus-tice”, an allusion to Yulia Tymoshenko’s fate. Youth unemployment and innovation were also discussed, as well as well as “regula-tory fitness”, in plain words: the necessity tocut red tape in order to help small and me-dium enterprises (SME).The “digital agenda”, discussed by theheads of state and government on Thursday evening, also covered data protection, as wellas VAT, the leaders asking the Commissionto address issues such as differentiated tax rates for digital and physical products.Finally, on the banking union field, it was decided that the European Central Bank (ECB) will conduct a series of stress tests onmajor banks across the Eurozone, a first steptowards the introduction of a single standardfor all banks. These will have to be more seri-ously conducted that previous similar tests,in order for the ECB to retain its credibil-ity. In 2011, the Franco-Belgian bank Dexia went bankrupt only months after having suc-cessfully passed the stress test.
By Christina Vasilaki
aris and Berlin demand an EU-US “no-spying” agreement on the work of intelli-gence agencies.“Spying on friends is unacceptable. It’s not just about me but about every German citizen”,said Angela Merkel at her arrival to the EU Sum-mit, determined to force the topic to the top of EU leaders’ agenda. Earlier this week, reports inGerman media revealed that the US NationalSecurity Agency (NSA) allegedly tapped theGerman Chancellor’s phone. Similar reports inthe French media talked about some 70 milliontelephone calls being intercepted between mid-December 2012 and mid-January 2013. After the end of the first day of the Summit, Angela Merkel stated: “We want action fromPresident Barack Obama, not just apologetic words. We are partners but this must rest onmutual trust and respect and this applies to theintelligence community.” More specifically, theGerman Chancellor along with the French Presi-dent François Hollande, agreed to ask for a “no-spying” agreement on the work of intelligenceagencies. “That means a framework for coopera-tion between the relevant (intelligence) services.Germany and France have taken the initiativeand other member states will join,” Merkel said.“The problem is not which leader has been spiedon, but it is the extent of this network. Because itdoesn’t only concern heads of state, but also com-panies and citizens. So it goes much further than just relations between states and leaders, It is amajor problem”, Hollande added.The 28 leaders endorsed the Franco-Germanplan, while earlier information coming from thenewspaper Guardian alleged that a number of 35 world leaders had been monitored in 2006.
EU – US free trade agreement
According to Reuters it is “the worst spat between the close allies in a decade”, however, itseems that the clash between the two continents won’t be enough to put in distress the economicrelations between the two blocks. Although, thereis pressure from different sides to halt EU – USfree trade talks, Merkel and the other leaders seemdetermined to resist this.European Parliament President, MartinSchulz was the first to propose that “we stop for amoment the negotiations and discuss. People arespied only in dictatorships and not in democraticcountries”.More specifically Mr Schulz said: “The NSA scandal was a wake-up call. Now that there is evi-dence that EU embassies, European parliaments,European heads of government and citizens have been spied on by the USA on a grand scale, theEuropean Parliament has called for the suspen-sion of the TFTP Agreement. We are calling forthe exchange of bank data with the Americans to be temporarily suspended. The European Parlia-ment will also safeguard the interests and funda-mental rights of EU citizens at the negotiations onthe Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partner-ship”. Under pressure from Germany and France,the 28 leaders added a separate, inconspicuousannex to the main conclusions of the summit, in which they expressed their concern in the faceof “recent developments concerning possible in-telligence issues”. In carefully crafted words, they expressed their conviction that partnership withthe USA “must be based on respect and trust, in-cluding as concerns the work and cooperation of secret services”.In this statement, the EU leaders underlinedthe importance of intelligence gathering in thefight against terrorism. “This applies to relations between European countries as well as to relations with the USA. A lack of trust could prejudice thenecessary cooperation in the field of intelligencegathering”, they stressed. As sole concrete initiative, the leaders men-tioned that they “took note of the intention of France and Germany to seek bilateral talks withthe USA with the aim of finding before the endof the year an understanding on mutual relationsin that field”.This annex does not figure in the final com-munique. To say that it is formulated in a low key rhetoric would be an understatement.
NSA spying is challenging EU leaders politically and commercially.
AFP PHOTO / DPA / KAY NIETFELD /
EU to seek “no-spying” assurances
The highjacked summit
The highjacked summit - the refugees’ drama makes VanRompuy’s digital agenda dwindle into insignificance