Brazil presses EU for undersea cable to skirt U.S. links

lunes 24 de febrero de 2014 07:45 GYT

* Brazil wants more control over transatlantic communications

* U.S. eavesdropping on Rousseff, Merkel has damaged trust

By Robin Emmott and Francesco Guarascio

BRUSSELS, Feb 24 (Reuters) - Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff pressed ahead on Monday with plans to lay an undersea communications cable directly to Europe to reduce Brazil's reliance on the United States following reports that Washington spied on Brasilia.

At the annual EU-Brazil summit, Rousseff is seeking to define financing for the $185 million project that could be in place next year in an effort to shield Brazil's Internet traffic from U.S. surveillance, EU and Brazilian officials said.

"We are working on the financial architecture for a fibre-optic link that would be a direct connection between Brazil and Europe," said one official as Rousseff arrived in Brussels for talks with the presidents of the European Commission and European Council.

Rousseff postponed a state visit to Washington last year in protest at the U.S. National Security Agency spying on her email and phone.

EU leaders are sympathetic to Brazil's call following the revelations of fugitive former NSA contractor Edward Snowden that showed the agency also eavesdropped on German Chancellor Angela Merkel's mobile phone and some EU institutions.

Brazil relies on U.S. undersea cables to carry almost all of its communications to Europe. The only existing cable between Europe and Brazil is outdated and only used for voice transmission.   Continuación...