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Merkel in Brazil

Static on the line

VonDustin Volz

Angela Merkel travels to Brazil Wednesday to discuss trade with President Dilma Rousseff. But both women leaders also share something else: They say they were targets of U.S. eavesdropping – and are pushing for change.

Merkel and Rousseff

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s diplomatic visit to Brazil on Wednesday is being billed as a historic summit to strengthen ties on trade, investment and climate change initiatives with Germany’s most important economic ally in South America.

But the trip will also allow Ms. Merkel a rare opportunity to huddle closely with Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, a world leader with whom she has forged an unusual and personal common bond: Both believe they have been directly — and wrongfully — targeted by spies at the U.S. National Security Agency.

Though it is not on their official agenda, observers expect Ms. Merkel and Ms. Rousseff to at least informally discuss global espionage, as the nations have worked in tandem over the past two years to steer the international community’s attention toward digital privacy. And, more recently, both leaders have endured criticism for softening their stances against government surveillance.

“The focus of the first German-Brazilian government consultations will be on science, technology and innovation as well as on the co-operation on environmental and climate issues,” a German government spokesperson, who declined to be named, said when asked if surveillance will be on the agenda. “Please understand that we cannot anticipate the contents of the talks between Chancellor Merkel and President Rousseff.”

To read more, go to Handelsblatt Global Edition.

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