Germany says EU-US free trade talks should go ahead next week

BERLIN, July 3 Wed Jul 3, 2013 7:09am EDT

BERLIN, July 3 (Reuters) - Germany said on Wednesday that free-trade talks between the European Union and United States should begin as planned next week, despite a French call that the negotiations be delayed amid reports Washington is spying on the 28-nation bloc.

"The talks are in the hands of the European Commission, which wants to start them on July 8. Germany supports them in this," German government spokesman Steffen Seibert told a regular news conference.

"We want a free-trade deal, and we will start the negotiations. Europe will find a way to discuss the themes which are important to us,"

France said on Wednesday it would be "wise" for the start of talks between the EU and the U.S. to be suspended for a couple of weeks to give Washington time to supply information about the spying programme that has been requested by Europeans.

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