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United States – European Union (Q&A - Excerpt from the daily press briefing - July 3, 2013)

Q : When did France become aware of the suspicions that the National Security Agency (NSA) had spied on its national representations (diplomatic missions) and the European Union’s institutions? Was France aware of this before the revelations in the German and British press?

The Guardian claims that France was one of the NSA’s targets. What’s your response?

The minister stated yesterday that France expected the American authorities “to respond as swiftly as possible to the legitimate concerns raised by the press disclosures” relating to allegations that the NSA spied on the EU’s institutions. Have you received an explanation from the American authorities?

A : Laurent Fabius, Minister of Foreign Affairs, voiced his opinion on this issue yesterday. He indicated that France had asked the American authorities for an explanation and that he expected them to respond as swiftly as possible to the legitimate concerns raised by the press disclosures.

There can be no justification on the grounds of security for spying on diplomats and diplomatic representations of friendly countries, if that proves to be the case. It would therefore be unacceptable.

Laurent Fabius will speak on the telephone with his American counterpart, John Kerry, this afternoon, at the request of the latter. He will also receive the ambassador of the United States in Paris.


Q&A - Excerpt from the daily press briefing - 03.07.13

Q : Why did France close its airspace to Evo Morales?

Would it be possible to confirm that France never spies on its allies and partners?

The Bolivian president’s plane was granted permission to fly over the national territory. We don’t want to continue to stir any controversy over this issue through the press.

Regarding your second question, Laurent Fabius, Minister of Foreign Affairs, confirmed on July 2 that “we don’t spy on the U.S. embassy.” I can confirm that this remark applies to our allies and partners.


Q&A - Excerpt from the daily press briefing - 02.07.13

Q : What is France’s response to Edward Snowden’s asylum request?

France has not received an asylum request from Mr. Snowden.

If France does indeed receive a request for political asylum from Edward Snowden, will it be considered? According to which procedures? Could it be accepted?

With respect to the procedures, please refer to the provisions of the Geneva Convention.

What was the substance of the telephone conversation yesterday afternoon between the minister and his American counterpart?

Has there been any American response to France’s request for an explanation following the allegations that the EU and France had been spied on, notably by the NSA?

France would like to get clarification as swiftly as possible regarding the particularly disturbing press reports, according to which the American administration allegedly spied on the European institutions as well as our diplomatic missions in Washington and New York.

The minister spoke with his American counterpart yesterday afternoon. Mr. John Kerry assured him that he would respond to his concerns as swiftly as possible. The same message was conveyed to the ambassador of the United States in Paris, as well as to the White House and the Department of State, by our embassy in Washington.

What are the potential negative effects on French-American bilateral relations following these alleged incidents of spying? What impact could they have on the EU-US negotiations on a trade agreement? What guarantees is France looking for in order to re-establish trust between the parties?

As President Hollande and the minister of foreign affairs indicated, there can be no justification for spying on diplomats and diplomatic representations of friendly countries.

More generally, France has drawn the attention of its European partners to the sensitivity of the Internet and data processing. It would like the United States to provide guarantees on the protection of personal data, notably within the framework of the negotiations that are due to open between the European Union and the United States on the conclusion of a transatlantic treaty. We will consult with our European partners on this issue this week.


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