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BRUSSELS, October 24 (Itar-Tass) - The accusations against the United States it is responsible for spying on its European allies threaten to put on ice the ambitious US-EU project for a the Transatlantic Free Trade Area.
The spying scandal was splashed across the pages of European dailies hours before the autumn EU summit. There has surfaced another portion of disclosures provided a while ago by a former CIA employee, Edward Snowden. Experts say they may indicate the US has been spying on EU leaders by tapping their phones and Internet correspondence. This caused French President Franois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel to contact US President Barack Obama for first-hand information and hold a special meeting on the sidelines of EU summit.
Besides, the German Foreign Ministry summoned US ambassador in Germany earlier on Thursday for explanations.
The EU is now preparing a number of protective measures against the US. “We shall step up efforts to toughen foreign access to our databases,” said one of the EU diplomats.
Meanwhile, the European Parliament has demanded the EU countries should suspend agreements with the US that allow its special services, guided by anti-terrorism legislation, to monitor financial transactions made via the SWIFT payment system.
The first round of trade area negotiations last July in Washington was to be followed by talks on October 7 - 11 but these were postponed amid the US budget crisis. The anger over US spying activities in Europe has soared high, so the date when negotiations may resume is still unclear.