02-17-2014 05:26 AM
Germany and France will carry out talks to discuss a new European communication network that would avoid emails and online data passing through the US.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel spoke of the new network in her weekly podcast, stating her intention to propose it to French President Francois Hollande when she meets with him on Wednesday.
"We'll talk with France about how we can maintain a high level of data protection," Merkel said. "Above all, we'll talk about European providers that offer security for our citizens, so that one shouldn't have to send emails and other information across the Atlantic.
"Rather, one could build up a communication network inside Europe."
The move to create a network that does not rely on US infrastructure comes in the wake of revelations that the US National Security Agency (NSA) carried out secret surveillance on 35 world leaders, including Merkel.
Leaked documents from former NSA contract worker Edward Snowden suggested that the intelligence agency had monitored Merkel's phone conversations, who called the surveillance a "serious breach of trust".
"We've got to do more for data protection in Europe, there's no doubt about it," Merkel said.
The NSA spying scandal also rocked France when it was reported that the agency had spied on 70 million phone calls in France in just 30 days.
French officials have been discussing Merkel's proposals for a closed off network and, according to Reuters.
An official told the news agency: "Now that the German government is formed, it is important that we take up the initiative together."