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EU weighs measures to pressurise US to rein in NSA spying

Last Updated: Tuesday, October 29, 2013 - 15:32

Zee Media Bureau

Berlin: In order to put a check on the alleged extensive intelligence practices of the United States, the European Union is mulling on suspending an agreement which allowed US access to tracking terrorist money flows, reports said.

The report comes at time when European leaders, especially Angela Merkel, are voicing their indignation over the NSA eavesdropping on them and millions of phone calls i n their countries.

Talking about the possible suspending of the agreement, Merkel said she would agree to it but there was a need to look at it more closely.

Claiming that the US was using the surveillance to gather economic intelligence and not just against terror, German Justice Minister Sabine Leutheusser- Schnarrenberger said that teh agreement must be suspended.

"It really isn`t enough to be outraged," she told rbb-Inforadio. "This would be a signal that something can happen and make clear to the Americans that the (EU`s) policy is changing."

The agreement in question is - the SWIFT agreement – also known as the Terrorist Finance Tracking Program, which facilitates the US to track terrorist money flows.

The agreement allows access to funds transferred through the private, Belgium-based Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, which handles the movement of money between banks worldwide.

If approved by the majority of 28 EU nations, the move will sent a strong signal to the US against the US surveillance, which has invited anger from a set of nations on the receiving end of NSA spying.

The US has been under fire of late for the alleged surveillance on France, Germany, Spain, Mexico and Brazil.

The furore was created after media reports in these countries alleged that the NSA was involved in extensive tracking of phone calls in their countries.

Le Monde reported that NSA tracked 70 million calls in France while Spanish newspapers reported that 60 million calls were spied upon by the US.

First Published: Tuesday, October 29, 2013 - 09:44
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