B2 The Daily of Geopolitical Europe. News. Files. Reflections. Reports

Blog AnalysisInformation

The frightened virgin

GsmFestivalFil062a(B2) The eavesdropping carried out by the NSA has caused a bit of a stir for several hours in the corridors of the European Council. And caused a little delay in the meeting. Indeed, there is something. The United States listens to its allies, and to its leaders. German Chancellor Angela Merkel bugged. A surprise 🙂 A drama! Indeed it is not very nice, not very fair play. But as much to be sure of his allies, to detect his faults or his weaknesses, and to see if he does not negotiate with recommendable third parties or not, that may seem obvious (*).

A question of strategic autonomy above all

Normally the conversations of Heads of State and Government are protected by encrypted systems. However, these encrypted systems are always approved by the national authorities but often with the implicit or even explicit agreement of the US authorities. It is the whole problem of the technological and strategic autonomy of Europe which is thus in fact posed. If Europe does not want to be listened to by its intimate ally, it must first possess an autonomous technology and not "shared" with it. It's a choice. Will the Heads of State and Government want to do this?

Acquire key technologies

If Europe does not want to be dependent on the United States, it can do so, and decide to apply a "European preference" for its sensitive industries. But, for the moment, we do not seem to be taking the path. European defense ministers are thus in the process of approving joint cyber-defense systems at NATO level. The difference between cyber defense and cyber eavesdropping... is relatively small. And this is just one example. We remain a little schizophrenic in this area.

Strategic choices to be made

On a number of strategic choices, some Member States still prefer to align themselves with the American friend who provides technology that is tested, interoperable, and sometimes less expensive. From the moment we choose this alignment, that the leaders can be listened to is almost inherent to this choice of alignment. Or at least, you shouldn't be shocked. Isn't the risk of espionage today rather from countries that are not allies—such as China, Russia and the others—that maintain a spy network that may not be animated by the same intentions as the American system.

(Nicolas Gros-Verheyde)

(*) This does not excuse, on the other hand, the massive wiretapping sifting a large part of the population. We are here in front of a violation of privacy which cannot really be evoked in the case.

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).