Elmar Brok, member of a European Parliament fact-finding delegation currently in Washington D.C. over the NSA scandal, told Deutsche Welle (DW) that US spying operations in Europe have damaged transatlantic relations.
Asked what message the delegation from the European Parliament has conveyed to its US partners so far, Elmar Brok, the chairman of the European Parliament Committee on Foreign Affairs,told DW's news program Journal: "We tell them that they have broken the rule of confidence and that it will be very difficult to have harmonious cooperation for future projects." He added: "I think that they have to re-establish confidence - that is the most important question. We have a feeling that these intelligence services have built a state within a state in the United States, and that the balance between freedom and security has been lost. And therefore I think we have to establish a new relationship."
In reference to US accusations that the Europeans are overreacting, Brok explained that the NSA scandal has simply exposed an imbalance in current German-US relations: "How would the Americans react if the German embassy established a monitoring system against the American president? There would be an outcry here and the German ambassador would be sent home. I think they have to understand that we are equal partners and the Americans have no more rights than others. We want to cooperate in fighting terrorism but it is out of the question to monitor and to spy on each other."
But Brok is also convinced that despite the consequences of the NSA scandal, the EU has retained leverage over the US: "The European Union is in charge of all the trade negotiations, all the rules and regulations on data protection, on the new transatlantic marketplace agreement. There is such a lot of interest here in American business, but also in the cooperation in fighting terrorism that I think the Americans should see that it is in their interests to find a solution to this question."