European aviation and aeronautics giant Airbus has said it is planning to complain to German authorities over reports that the country's foreign intelligence agency had helped the US to spy on the company and other European firms.

"We've asked the government for more information," an Airbus spokesman in Germany said on Thursday.

"We will launch a complaint against an unknown person on suspicion of industrial espionage."

Germany's Bild newspaper had reported on Monday, citing intelligence agency documents, that US spy agencies had targeted Airbus and Eurocopter, now called Airbus Helicopters, as well as other companies for years, and that the German government had known about it since 2008.

The US National Security Agency (NSA) had spied, or sought to spy, on businesses in Europe via the German BND foreign intelligence agency's monitoring station at Bad Aibling in southern Bavaria state, Bild said.

The Bild report, and other news reports of such alleged intelligence cooperation, have been embarrassing for the German government which has always portrayed itself as a victim of spying by its allies, notably the US.

On Thursday the Sueddeutsche Zeitung, citing a source with knowledge of BND procedures, said the BND had also engaged in "political espionage" when it helped the NSA snoop on "top officials at the French foreign ministry, the Elysee Palace and European Commission".

Asked about the allegations, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker told a news conference in Brussels that he had once proposed that the commission should have its own secret service "because the agents are here", although he did not know if German spies were active in the Belgian capital.

Juncker, who headed a Luxembourg government that was brought down by a spying and corruption scandal in 2013, said he knew from personal experience that secret services were very difficult to keep under control

Source: Al Jazeera and agencies