Chancellor Angela Merkel accused the U.S. of using outdated Cold War intelligence methods even as she pledged not to allow the clash over espionage to get in the way of joint projects between the two NATO allies.
Merkel, speaking today in a live interview with German broadcaster ZDF, dismissed a suggestion that the country may scrap negotiations for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership between the European Union and the U.S.
“We have differing perceptions on the work of intelligence services, but other political areas like the free-trade agreement are absolutely in our interest,” Merkel said.
Two days after Germany expelled the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency station chief from Berlin following accusations over spying methods, Merkel’s government signaled it is open to a new start in U.S. relationship as the nations regain trust.
“We work very close together with the Americans. I want that to continue,” the chancellor told ZDF. “Germany, of course, profits from this cooperation.”
Still, the German leader raised the trans-Atlantic breach of trust after two investigations against suspected double agents working for American intelligence emerged over the past week. The allegations added to existing tension over mass surveillance by U.S. agencies and the tapping of Merkel’s mobile phone.
“We don’t live in the Cold War anymore, where everybody probably mistrusted everybody else,” Merkel said.
“The notion that you always have to ask yourself in close cooperation whether the one sitting across from you could be working for the others –- that’s not a basis for trust,” Merkel said. “So we obviously have different perceptions and we have to discuss that intensively.”
To contact the editors responsible for this story: Alan Crawford at firstname.lastname@example.org Patricia Lui, Heather Langan