Kevin Rawlinson and agencies
August 27, 2013
Angela Merkel’s main rival in the German general election next month has pledged to suspend EU-US trade talks over the National Security Agency spying scandal if he replaces her as chancellor.
In a further sign that the NSA row has soured relations between the US and its European allies, Peer Steinbrück, leader of the Social Democratic party, told ARD TV: “I would interrupt the negotiations until the Americans say if German government offices and European institutions are bugged or wiretapped. We don’t know if the Americans may be sitting under our desks with some technical devices.” He pledged to press Washington about the spy agency’s activities before continuing with the talks about a transatlantic free trade agreement.
His move comes after Germany’s Der Spiegel weekly reported that the NSA bugged the United Nations’ New York headquarters, with the European Union and the International Atomic Energy Agency among those targeted.