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European commission vice-president says American cloud services providers could suffer loss of business

Neelie Kroes

Neelie Kroes, European commissioner for digital matters, who said: ‘If I were an American cloud provider, I would be quite frustrated with my government right now.’ Photograph: Yves Logghe/AP

European businesses are likely to abandon the services of American internet providers because of the National Security Agency surveillance scandal, the European commission has warned.

Neelie Kroes, the commission vice-president who speaks on digital affairs, predicted that providers of cloud services, which allow users to store and access data on remote servers, could suffer significant loss of business if clients fear the security of their material is under threat.

The warning came as it appeared that the Americans and the Europeans were to start investigating alleged breaches of data privacy in the EU as well as US intelligence and espionage practices.

Despite threats from France to delay long-awaited EU-US negotiations on a new transatlantic free trade pact, scheduled to open in Washington on Monday, EU ambassadors in Brussels reached a consensus on Thursday to go ahead with the talks.

They could not yet agree, however, on how to respond to a US offer of parallel talks on the NSA scandal, the Prism and Tempora programmes and issues of more traditional espionage arising from reports of how US agencies bugged and tapped the offices and embassies of the EU and several member states.

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