Europe

Thursday 24 July 2014

Britain blocks talks on security, intelligence

Bruno Waterfield and Raf Sanchez

Published 06/07/2013|04:00

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Edward Snowden

BRITAIN has clashed with Germany and France by blocking plans to create a "working group" of national security advisers which would negotiate with the US over the recent series of spying scandals.

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Germany and France had wanted the special body created in order to hold talks with Washington next week over recent reports of surveillance activities by the US National Security Agency.

The reports, largely springing from information leaked by the US whistle-blower Edward Snowden have included details of operations by the British listening station, GCHQ.

But Britain blocked the working group plan in Brussels yesterday after concerns that it would lead to a loss of sovereignty over intelligence operations.

The row means talks between the EU and US over security and intelligence operations will not take place in Washington on Monday, as announced by Angela Merkel, the German chancellor.

Instead, the European Commission will head up a separate working group with a negotiating mandate restricted to the narrow areas of EU legislation on data protection and privacy.

Bolivia threatened yesterday to close the US embassy over the diversion of President Evo Morales' plane this week.

He was flying back from Moscow on Tuesday when his jet was forced to land in Austria, amid US suspicions it was carrying Mr Snowden who has been stuck at Moscow's international airport for two weeks. (©Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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