BRUSSELS/BERLIN - The European Union has demanded that the United States explain a report in a German magazine that Washington is spying on the group, using unusually strong language to confront its closest trading partner over its alleged surveillance activities.
A spokeswoman for the European Commission said on Sunday the EU contacted US authorities in Washington and Brussels about a report in Der Spiegel magazine that the US secret service had tapped EU offices in Washington and Brussels and at the United Nations.
"We have immediately been in contact with the US authorities in Washington DC and in Brussels and have confronted them with the press reports," the spokeswoman said.
"They have told us they are checking on the accuracy of the information released yesterday and will come back to us," she added in a statement.
Der Spiegel reported on its website on Saturday that the National Security Agency had bugged EU offices and gained access to EU internal computer networks in the latest revelation of alleged US spying that has prompted outrage from EU politicians.
The magazine followed up on Sunday with a report that the US secret service taps half a billion phone calls, emails and text messages in Germany in a typical month and has classed its biggest European ally as a target similar to China.