EUROPEAN COMMISSION VP Viviane Reding, the commissioner for justice, fundamental rights and citizenship delivered a speech yesterday in which she said, "National security does not mean that anything goes."
"The news over the past weeks and days has been deeply disturbing. Revelations, claims and counter-claims have been made at a dizzying speed," she said.
"We should carefully distinguish between two aspects to the problem. The first concerns international diplomatic relations. The second concerns the rights of EU citizens."
Reding said that it will be difficult to trust the US and trade with it while it is being so secretive.
She said that the EC needs confidence, clarity and transparency with its negotiating partners, adding, "This excludes spying on EU institutions."
The commissioner said that she has had some responses from US Attorney General Eric Holder, but added that not every question has been answered. She has written to him again to press for more answers.
In the UK, Foreign Secretary William Hague should expect a letter from Reding in his in-box. He will be asked to come clean about the scale and the scope of the Tempora Project.
"The whole world is watching us on this. And the debate on PRISM and similar programmes only reinforces that we have a chance to set a gold standard for data protection," she added.
"Together with the Presidency, we have started the discussion on the transatlantic expert group which will include experts from Member States. Based on the information gathered, the Commission will report back to the European Parliament and to the Council in October." µ