As the row over US spying on French citizens escalates, US Foreign Secretary John Kerry has been meeting with French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius in Paris.
Responding to allegations that the US eavesdropped on millions of French phone calls, Fabius called the practice “unacceptable”.
The scale of the spying claims threatens to overshadow discussions on the war in Syria, the reason for Kerry’s visit.
Revelations by French newspaper Le Monde allege that in one month alone the US National Security Agency (NSA) tapped 70.3 million phone calls in France.
People tied to French business and politics were apparently targeted, as well as those suspected to have links with terrorism.
It comes as the EU voted to strengthen Europe’s data protection laws, with plans to fine companies like Facebook and Google up to 100 million euros if they break the rules.
Green MEP, Jan Philipp Albrecht, says the new laws will protect European citizens: “This regulation gives strong individual rights to all people in Europe and it enforces these rights consistently everywhere in Europe by strong sanctions of up to 5% of the yearly turnout of those companies which infringe these rights.”
The draft regulation still requires approval by Parliament’s plenary session and the EU’s 28 member states. EU officials are expected to have the legislation agreed, before new European Parliament elections are held next May.
Former NSA worker Edward Snowden leaked tens of thousands of documents about US spying operations in June.
They revealed mass surveillance by the NSA and CIA on a global scale.