BERLIN (USA TODAY) — European leaders meeting in Brussels Friday said that the recent allegations over U.S. spying may threaten the global fight against terrorism.
"A lack of trust could prejudice the necessary cooperation in the field of intelligence gathering," a statement from Europe's heads of state said.
It was released as a conference on the European Union's economic and migration policy threatened to be overshadowed by the fallout from claims that U.S. intelligence had monitored the cell phone communications of German Chancellor Angela Merkel and dozens of other leaders.
On Thursday, Merkel said, "I've made it clear to the U.S. president that spying on friends is not acceptable."
While the meeting of the European Council was supposed to focus on issues like innovation and competitiveness, most attention focused on the spy scandal, which originated in documents leaked to journalists by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden.
The scandal also threatened to encroach on the summit's official business. The BBC reported that French President Francois Hollande, dealing with his own domestic fallout over allegations released earlier this week that U.S. intelligence collected millions of phone calls from French citizens, briefly met with Merkel at the summit to discuss the scandal, and that he pushed for the spying to be added to the conference's agenda.
Meanwhile, some German newspapers reported that the released documents point to the involvement of the U.S. embassy in Berlin. According to the Süddeutsche Zeitungnewspaper, the encrypted documents indicated that "the U.S. embassy in Berlin was the operational basis" of the spying.