German surveillance reports disturbing, Foreign Ministry says

An Austrian daily's reports about the surveillance of Vienna-based institutions, including the Polish embassy, by the German Federal Intelligence Service (BND) are disturbing, the Polish Foreign Ministry said on Sunday.

On Friday, the Austrian daily Der Standard and the country's popular weekly Profil informed that they were in possession of a list of companies and institutions that have been under BND surveillance since the end of the 1990s. On the list among others are the Austrian Chancellor's Office, the country's Interior, Foreign, Defence and Finance Ministries, UN agencies, major banks and industrial enterprises and the embassies of Russia, Ukraine, North Korea, Japan, Israel, the US, Australia, France and Poland.

"The reports by the Austrian daily Der Standard raise justified concern," said Artur Lompart from the Foreign Ministry's press bureau. Lompart voiced hope for the issue's prompt clearance, observing that if the reports proved true, they could "undermine the trust that is so important in relations between EU and NATO members."

On Saturday, Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen and the country's Chancellor Sebastian Kurz demanded explanations in the matter from Germany.