Merkel Says Spying on Friends Is Not On as Allied Trust Eroded

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said eavesdropping on allies is unacceptable and that trust must be won back following reports her mobile phone was bugged by U.S. intelligence agencies.

“Spying among friends is not on,” Merkel said to reporters before a European Union summit in Brussels today, her first public reaction to yesterday’s report in Der Spiegel magazine. “We need trust between allies and partners, and this trust must be re-established.”

German politicians from all parties have reacted with outrage to the report that the U.S. National Security Agency may have been monitoring Merkel’s private mobile phone for years. A White House denial that the U.S. is listening in failed to stem the calls in Germany and elsewhere in Europe for action to ensure there is no repeat.

Germany summoned the U.S. ambassador to the Foreign Ministry in Berlin today to clarify the charge of U.S. eavesdropping as Merkel joined EU leaders in Brussels, where the summit discussion of data protection took on new relevance.

“There are strong signals that my German colleague has been wire-tapped,” Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte told reporters before the summit, saying that he found the charge “impossible, unthinkable and very serious.”

A decision today on possible action against the U.S. “is not foreseen,” he said. “We are now awaiting the investigation results and based on that, we will set the next steps.”

To contact the reporter on this story: James G. Neuger in Brussels at jneuger@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James Hertling at jhertling@bloomberg.net

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