Merkel Says NSA Scandal is Harming Talks on US-EU Trade Deal

Credit: Peter Weis/wikimediaCredit: Peter Weis/wikimediaGerman Chancellor Angela Merkel has told German lawmakers that, "The relationship with the U.S. and the negotiation of a trans-Atlantic free trade agreement are currently, without doubt, being put to the test by the accusations that have been aired against the U.S. about the gathering of millions of bits of data.”

Merkel’s comments are only the latest indication that Edward Snowden’s revelations have damaged negotiations on a E.U.-U.S. trade deal. In July, the French called for the negotiations to be suspended in the wake of allegations that the U.S. had spied on European diplomats.

Although Merkel describes the deal as a “free trade agreement,” it is unlikely to resemble an agreement that would be lauded by supporters of capitalism once European and American lawmakers are done working on it. The deal will have to be approved by each E.U. member state, the European Parliament, and the American Congress, hardly institutions with great track records when it comes to free trade.

In June, I wrote about how special interests will screw up this deal, citing the example of the French, who wanted their film and television industries exempted from the talks. Unsurprisingly, American lawmakers have said that the U.S. supporting the agreement is conditional on the E.U. removing barriers to American farm exports. The E.U. has tight regulations on genetically modified food, which is of understandable concern to American policy makers considering that about 90 percent of American soybeans, corn, cotton and sugar beets are genetically modified. E.U. Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht has said that European regulations on genetically modified will not be changed.

Given the Snowden revelations it should not be surprising if it is some time before American negotiators will be in a comfortable position to be asking Europeans to remove barriers to American farm exports or make any other policy changes.

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  • WTF||

    Angela Merkel is shocked, shocked! to learn that the U.S. had spied on European diplomats. Because the Europeans would never spy on their allies.

  • ||

    Right?

    It's not like the Germans have tried to take over the world. Twice.

  • Adam330||

    Twice in one century.

  • fish||

    Twice in one century.,/i

    Big deal! The real crime is the lack of alt-text associated with that photo!

  • WTF||

    The E.U. has tight regulations on genetically modified food, which is of understandable concern to American policy makers considering that about 90 percent of American soybeans, corn, cotton and sugar beets are genetically modified.

    ALL food is genetically modified - do they think corn grew in the wild looking as it does today? Or anything else for that matter?

  • Zeb||

    Sure, but you know what they mean. Saying something was modified implies that an agent did the modifying, not natural random mutations. So I think it is a meaningful distinction. But the anti-GMO people are definitely ridiculous. Why would you assume that it is obviously true that modifying organisms in deliberate and fairly well understood ways to get a particular desirable result is more dangerous than the natural mutations that happen all the time and are selected for by crop breeders?

  • Jordan||

    Saying something was modified implies that an agent did the modifying, not natural random mutations.

    But is there a substantive difference?

  • Agammamon||

    Uhm, the *mutations* may have been random, but humans were doing the whole 'environmental selection' part.

  • ||

    But organisms don't evolve entirely randomly. They also do so because of competition/predation/symbiosis/etc. with other species (and themselves). Humans are no different that any other.

  • Agammamon||

    That's why evolution is *random mutation* coupled with *natural selection*.

  • ||

    Yep and GMOs are just as much a part of natural selection as anything else.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    Humanz r unnatural!

  • DEATFBIRSECIA||

    I hadn't considered the possibility that Snowden's revelations could actually disrupt this bullshit "free-trade" agreement.

    Icing.

  • ||

    the gathering of millions of bits of data

    I WISH it was only millions of bits!

  • playa manhattan||

    The new NSA facility in Utah only has 1 floppy disk of storage.

  • ||

    And it's dedicated to kiddie porn.

  • Agammamon||

    ASCII kiddie porn.

  • Agammamon||

    OMG, its *all* lowercase letters you sick pervert!

  • 0x90||

    ASCII silly question, get a silly ANSI.

  • Mike M.||

    They used the hole punch trick to make it double-sided though.

  • ||

    It's in a room, inside another room, inside another room, inside a series of other rooms, and in between are layers and layers of bubble wrap.

  • Doctor Whom||

    But the RAM is maxed out to 640k.

  • Agammamon||

    ". . . about the gathering of millions of bits of data"

    Numeracy, what's that?

  • Doctor Whom||

    It's something that, unlike postmodernism and deconstructionism, has no bearing on the real world. That's what humanities majors tell me.

  • Dave Krueger||

    German Chancellor Angela Merkel has told German lawmakers that, "The relationship with the U.S. and the negotiation of a trans-Atlantic free trade agreement are currently, without doubt, being put to the test by the accusations that have been aired against the U.S. about the gathering of millions of bits of data.”

    So, it's the airing of the accusations (ie: the scandal) that is causing the problems, not the actual NSA surveillance, huh?

  • Sevo||

    "So, it's the airing of the accusations (ie: the scandal) that is causing the problems, not the actual NSA surveillance, huh?"

    Dunno.
    You've got 'states-speech' and a translation from Deutsch; pretty hard to read that sort of nuance into it.

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