EC Vice President Viviane Reding told members of the European Parliament during a plenary session Wednesday she was frustrated by national security practices in the United States.
"The fact that programs are said to relate to national security does not mean that anything goes. A balance needs to be struck between the policy objective pursued and the impact on fundamental rights, in particular the right to privacy," she said in a statement. "It is a question of proportionality."
The German news magazine Der Spiegel reported this week the U.S. surveillance program dubbed Prism had targeted the computer systems of the European Union. The allegation was part a controversial surveillance program leaked to the media by former U.S. National Security Agency employee Edward Snowden.
Reding told European lawmakers there were various policies under consideration that would strengthen privacy measures in the EU. If the United States wants an equal playing field, it needs to treat the EU as an equal, she said.
"Partners do not spy on each other," she said.