Brussels: The EU's executive Thursday said the latest reports of covert US surveillance in Europe showed it was time for "a strong and united" stand on data protection.
"Data protection must apply no matter if it concerns the e-mails of citizens or the mobile phone of Angela Merkel," said EU Justice Commissioner Vivane Reding, quoted by her spokeswoman.
"Now is the time for action and not only for declarations at the EU summit," she said, referring to a data protection law which has been blocked for months because of differences between the 28 member states.
Adoption of the legislation "would be a declaration of independence of Europe because that would allow Europe to credibly face the US... Giving itself a strong and united voice on this matter."
"Only if we stand united on this are we credible."
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, angry at allegations the US snooped on her, will discuss covert US surveillance in Europe with French President Francois Hollande at a two-day EU summit starting today, a French diplomatic source said.
The German government summoned the US ambassador to Berlin over reports Washington had monitored Merkel's mobile phone which have triggered outrage in Germany.
First Published: Thursday, October 24, 2013, 18:52