Germany cancelled Tuesday a treaty that commits it to hand over surveillance data to France as Chancellor Angela Merkel‘s government seeks to insulate itself from the Edward Snowden disclosures rankling Germans seven weeks before elections. The cancellation is the third in five days. On Friday, similar agreements with the United States and Britain were scrapped in Berlin Foreign Ministry meetings with diplomats from those nations. The agreement related to untakings by West Germany in 1968-69 to provide telecommunications intercepts in cases where the safety of US, British and French troops based on its territory was at risk. Merkel‘s government says it is reviewing the scale of intelligence cooperation with the US National Security Agency after Snowden, who has won temporary asylum in Russia, began revelations two months ago of the PRISM programme to harvest global phone and email metadata. The Foreign Ministry, describing the old West German treaties as administrative agreements, said they were cancelled in exchanges of notes with each of the other three nations. US, British and French troops occupied Germany in 1945, and remain there as allies.
Greece headed into a month of political uncertainty after power-sharing talks collapsed Tuesday, triggering new elections that could determine whether the country retains its tenuous position in Europe’s currency. Nine tortured days of fruitless talks to build a coalition government fueled increasing doubt that Greece can make enough reforms to prevent the world’s largest currency union from fracturing. “We expect the euro to remain under pressure as a result of this, and pressure on the borrowing costs, the bond yields, of countries like Spain and Italy to persist,” said John Bowler, director of the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Country Risk Service. No date has been set for the elections, but they will have to be held by mid-June – the month in which Greece must make more spending cuts to ensure it meets the terms of its international bailout. A caretaker government will be appointed until then.