Spy row unlikely to delay EU-US trade talks: Commission

2nd July 2013, Comments 0 comments

The European Commission said on Tuesday that allegations the US spied on its allies were unlikely to delay next week's scheduled start of negotiations on a mega transatlantic trade deal.

Speaking after closed-door talks, commission spokeswoman Pia Ahrenkilde Hansen said the European Union executive "considered ... the beginning of EU/US trade negotiations should not be affected."

Nevertheless, the EU side "will make it clear that for such a comprehensive and ambitious negotiation to succeed, there needs to be confidence, transparency and clarity among the negotiating partners," the Commission added.

Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht will head the EU delegation in talks next week in Washington over what would be the biggest ever free trade deal.

But Europe-wide anger over the alleged US bugging of EU offices is threatening talks on the trade pact despite US efforts to talk down the row.

In France, President Francois Hollande said on Monday that "there can be no negotiations or transactions in all areas until we have obtained these guarantees, for France but also for all of the European Union."

© 2013 AFP

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