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EU "committed" to transatlantic partnership but wants spying probe: Barroso


07:58, July 04, 2013

BERLIN, July 3 (Xinhua) -- The European Union (EU) is "committed to the transatlantic partnership" but wants working groups to be set up to probe the U.S. spying scandal, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said Wednesday on the free trade talks between the EU and the United States.

"There can't be opening of trade negotiations without there being at the same time... an opening of discussions with the U.S. on the activity of the intelligence services in our countries and protection of private data," Barroso was quoted by AFP as saying.

Last Saturday, the German magazine Der Spiegel reported on its website that the U.S. National Security Agency had tapped EU offices and gained access to EU internal computer networks. The magazine said its report was based on confidential documents.

The allegations cast shadow on the EU-U.S. trade talks scheduled to start in Washington on Monday.

French President Francois Hollande earlier this week called on Washington to offer Paris and its European allies guarantees on the spying issue before continuing free trade negotiations. The French government on Wednesday called to temporarily suspend the trade talks for two weeks.

But German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the negotiations should go ahead and the working groups should begin their work at the same time.

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