Berlin: Germany and France will embark on a new initiative to seek clarifications from the US on recent allegations of spying on Europeans by the National Security Agency (NSA) and create the framework for closer cooperation between their intelligence services.
The two countries, which are at the centre of the latest allegations of massive Internet and telephone surveillance by the NSA, have agreed at the EU summit in Brussels to work for a new deal with the US, which may include a no-spy agreement and cooperation in intelligence gathering.
German chancellor Angela Merkel, whose mobile phone was allegedly tapped by the NSA, said at the conclusion of the two-day summit yesterday that their aim is to lay the groundwork for a new transatlantic cooperation of intelligence services.
"We are seeking the basis for a cooperation between our intelligence services, which is transparent, clear-cut and in line with the interests of the partners of an alliance," she told a news conference.
Germany and France will present their agreement with the US at the next EU summit in December, she said.
Other member-nations can join the group afterwards.
What is important now is to find a basis for future cooperation and to restore the trust broken by the spying row, she said.
French president Francois Hollande said the aim of the initiative is to create the framework for future cooperation and to put an end to the "uncontrolled monitoring mechanisms".
He demanded from the US detailed clarification of its surveillance operations so far and a code of conduct for the future.
French newspapers reported last week that documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden revealed the agency had monitored millions of telephone calls and Internet communications of French citizens.