At talks in Washington sponsored by the Munich Security Conference, former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright spoke to DW about transatlantic relations and the wider privacy issues the NSA scandal has exposed.
In an interview with Deutsche Welle (DW), Madeleine Albright said it is "very unfortunate" that transatlantic relations have reached such a low point following the NSA scandal. She added: "I have always been a great believer in the Euro-Atlantic relationship. We are natural partners, we need each other, and I hope very much that all contacts and relationships can be restored. We, after all, have a history of trusting each other."
Still, she was surprised at the uproar that allegations of US spying have caused in Europe: "I think a lot of it has to do with technology and frankly, I know that many things are done for political reasons. I was in Brussels not long ago, and I think that this is an issue generally about what the rules of privacy are in this new technological era."
Albright was adamant that European agreements with the US such as the SWIFT banking agreement and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) should not suffer as a result of the scandal: "I think these are issues that have a whole other set of circumstances that go with them - and they are good for everybody. The TTIP is going to be a very important agreement for the Europeans and for the United States."
Asked to give recommendations for restoring the transatlantic relationship, Albright said: "We have a very large agenda together. I really do think it's important that there is no hypocrisy. There has to be an understanding that we are in a new technological era and that good friends can work this out."
Madeleine Albright was secretary of state in President Bill Clinton's first administration from 1997-2001. She is currently a professor of international relations at the Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University in Washington.