Opinions were divided when EU legislators met in Strasbourg to discuss the American surveillance program, Photo: Scanpix. Montage: Sveriges Radio

Swedish MPs to discuss American "spying"

The Left Party has requested a debate in the Swedish Parliament to discuss the US secret surveillance of computer and phone traffic. Party leader Jonas Sjöstedt says he wants the government to say whether it is planning to discuss the issue with the US government, and what steps it will be taking to ensure Swedes' correspondence will not be tapped by the US.

Meanwhile, a debate was held in the EU parliament on the issue Tuesday. Sophie In't Veld of the Dutch Liberal Party was among the harshest critics of the US police.

"Five hundred million EU citizens were very shocked last week to find a foreign nation has access to every detail of their private lives...we should be ashamed," said the Dutch parliamentarian.

However, other participants in the debate were more measured in their criticism of the American monitoring program.

Timothy Kirkhope of the British Conservative Party, for example, observed that there are still many uncertainties about the scope of the American surveillance: "It's too early to draw final conclusions yet here we are, already pointing the finger, with some expressing anti-American and anti-Commission rhetoric. Protecting citizens from modern threats is a balancing act."

Meanwhile, Swedish EU Commissioner Cecilia Malmström is also worried and angry about the possible consequences for Europeans of the American surveillance, according to Swedish Radio news

"We are also naturally very concerned about what this will mean for Europeans, since this American program seems to go over borders. But we don't know all the details yet," Malmström said.

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