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Published: 8 july 2013 18:17

Lithuanian MEPs: Spying scandal should not undermine EU-US free trade talks

Laima Andrikienė
Irmanto Gelūno / 15min nuotr. / Laima Andrikienė

The US spying scandal should be investigated but it should not undermine the EU-US free trade talks, Lithuanian MEPs tell BNS.

"These talks have been long awaited, and the spying scandal – there are accusations, suspicions, everything needs to be investigated. But I don't think it could undermine in some way the talks on the agreement," Lithuanian MEP Laima Andrikienė, a member of the European Parliament's International Trade Agreement, told BNS.

In her words, EP President Martin Schulz has asked high-ranking US officials for explanations about the use of Europeans' data, but the opinion of the European People's Party's group remains unchanged.

"Everybody understands that talks are a process and they are only starting," she said, adding that both processes can take place simultaneously.

"Let the talks take place, and we will collect information on the spying scandal and make conclusions. We have plenty of time for that," Andrikienė said.

Zigmantas Balčytis, a Lithuanian MEP of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats' group, says MEPs are not unanimous on the free trade talks.

"Some members of our group are concerned that, for example, the agreement (with the US) in the area of information technologies might violate their existing interests," he told BNS.

In his words, it has been decided against stopping the talks but their final course will be clear after information is collected. "We need to wait for information the US side has to provide and then make final decisions on the course of the talks," Balčytis said.

The US and EU are set to launch long-awaited talks on a free trade agreement later on Monday. Although agreements of such a scale usually take several years to negotiate, there are hopes to finalize the agreement by the end of 2014. The talks are being launched amid allegations that the US intelligence bugged EU citizens and institutions.

Naujienų agentūros BNS informaciją atgaminti visuomenės informavimo priemonėse bei interneto tinklalapiuose be raštiško UAB „BNS“ sutikimo draudžiama.
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