France says confidence restored with Germany after spy claims

Reuters , Saturday 2 May 2015

France said on Saturday that "mutual confidence" had been re-established with Germany after German media reported the country's foreign intelligence agency had helped the United States to spy on French firms and government offices.

Der Spiegel magazine said the BND foreign intelligence agency helped the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) over a period of 10 years to spy on government officials and companies in Europe including Franco-German aerospace giant EADS, now Airbus Group.

German media have reported that BND officials helped U.S. agencies spy on the French president's office, the foreign ministry in Paris and the European Commission.

Airbus said on Thursday it planned to complain to German authorities over the reports, while German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said on Friday that his government needed to clear up the accusations quickly.

The French Foreign Ministry said on Saturday the information in the media was not new as former NSA contractor Edward Snowden had revealed in 2013 that the NSA had spied on French targets and had partnerships with European countries.

"Germany has done what was necessary to re-establish mutual confidence," an official from the French ministry said.

The latest revelations concern practices dating from before 2010, the ministry said, adding that Germany had since carried out a parliamentary investigation leading it to limit its cooperation with the US.

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