EU assembly rejection of SWIFT made Merkel "very angry" - WikiLeaks
The European Parliament's rejection of an agreement allowing the United States to access European Union banking data to investigate terrorist financing made German Chancellor Angela Merkel "very, very angry," documents on WikiLeaks showed Monday.
The EU assembly (EP) struck down the so-called SWIFT deal on February 11, citing privacy concerns. The move forced EU governments to renegotiate the terms of the agreement, which was finally approved by lawmakers in July, DPA reported.
According to a cable from the US embassy in Berlin on February 12, Hamburg Mayor Ole von Beust told US ambassador Philip D Murphy that he had seen Merkel the previous night and indicated that she was "very, very angry - angrier than he had ever seen her."
Merkel was particularly incensed by EU lawmakers from her own CDU/CSU party who voted against SWIFT, despite her having "personally lobbied" them to support it, the report added.
The chancellor was worried that "Washington will view the EP veto as a sign that Europe does not take the terrorist threat seriously," and fretted about the possibility of a terrorist attack taking place in the absence of SWIFT data exchange, US diplomats reported.
The SWIFT affair was practically the only reference to internal EU affairs in the huge cache of US diplomatic cables - more than 250,000 - that WikiLeaks published on Sunday.
The other notable example was a cutting reference to Merkel's choice for Germany's representative in the European Commission, the EU's executive arm.
"Lame Duck German Governor Kicked Upstairs as New Energy Commissioner in Brussels," read the headline of a December 2009 diplomatic cable, giving a profile of the then leader of the German state of Baden-Wuerttemberg, Guenther Oettinger.
A spokeswoman for the EU's foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, told the German Press Agency dpa that the bloc had been given "a general warning" by US authorities last week over the forthcoming WikiLeaks revelations.