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France 'trusts' German government over spying for NSA claims

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German Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière faced a grilling in parliament on Wednesday AFP/Tim Brakemeier

The French government on Wednesday said it trusts the German government to handel a row over charges that Germany's secret services spied on French businesses and civil servants for the US's National Security Agency (NSA).


"The Franco-German friendship will overcome [...] this news, which has still to be confirmed," government spokesperson Stéphane Le Foll said in the first official French response since the scandal broke.

"There will be a parliamentary investigation, it will be transparent," he told journalists. "We trust the German government."

Austria on Tuesday declared it would launch legal complaints against persons unknown over revelations in the German media that the country's intelligence services, the BND, tapped into phone calls and emails to gather information for the NSA.

And French-based aircraft-maker Airbus also said it would file a criminal complaint over claims that it was the target of economic espionage.

But, although German media have said that French civil servants working at the foreign affairs ministry, the European Commission and the presidential palace had also been targets, the French government has not taken legal action or even publicly complained.

German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere faced a closed-door parliamentary inquiry into the scandal on Wednesday.

As Chancellor Angela Merkel's chief-of-staff in 2005-2009, he oversaw the BND.

Last month his ministry told parliament that the government knew nothing of NSA industrial espionage.

Merkel herself insisted that the BND was "under control" on Monday and said she was ready to face an inquiry if called on to do so.

The German opposition parties, the Greens and the Left Party have called for a separate parliamentary inquiry into the charges.