By Charlie Dunmore

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - A delegation of lawmakers from the European Union will travel to Washington on Monday to seek a response to allegations of widespread spying by the United States against EU citizens and governments, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The three-day visit by members of the European Parliament's civil liberties committee follows reports this week that the U.S. National Security Agency accessed tens of thousands of French phone records and monitored Merkel's mobile phone.

The revelations have drawn condemnation from EU leaders meeting in Brussels, with Merkel demanding that the United States sign up to a "no-spying" agreement with Germany and France by the end of the year, in line with similar deals with Britain and others.

The nine-member delegation will meet senior U.S. government and intelligence officials and explore "possible legal remedies for EU citizens" resulting from the alleged surveillance, although it is not clear what such remedies might entail.

The European Parliament has already opened an inquiry into the impact on Europe from leaks by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, and has led a push for tougher data protection rules and the suspension of a major transatlantic data-sharing deal.

"A key priority for this inquiry is to gather all relevant information and evidence from U.S. sources, which is why this fact-finding delegation to Washington is so important," Claude Moraes, a British socialist lawmaker who is leading the parliamentary inquest, said in a statement.

The European Parliament, with 766 members directly elected from the EU's 28 member states, this week voted in favor of an amended package of laws that would greatly strengthen EU data protection rules that date from 1995.

The rules would restrict how data collected in Europe by firms such as Facebook, Yahoo! and Google is shared with non-EU countries, and impose fines of 100 million euros ($138 million) or more on rule breakers.

Fearing that the rules, if adopted, will raise the cost of handling data in Europe, major U.S. technology companies and the U.S. government have lobbied hard against the proposals, which the backers hope may become law during 2015.

(Reporting by Charlie Dunmore; editing by Luke Baker)

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  • William Hague, Foreign Secretary Of The United Kingdom

    <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-22839090" target="_blank">In a statement to Parliament</a>, Hague said the UK's information-sharing relationship with the U.S. was "essential to the security of the country" and had "saved many lives." <em>British Foreign Secretary William Hague speaks at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library on Tuesday, June 25, 2013 in Simi Valley, Calif. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)</em>

  • Martin Schulz, President Of The European Parliament

    "I am deeply worried and shocked about the allegations," <a href="http://www.cnn.com/2013/06/30/world/europe/eu-nsa" target="_blank">European Parliament President Martin Schulz said in a statement.</a> "If the allegations prove to be true, it would be an extremely serious matter which will have a severe impact on EU-U.S. relations. On behalf of the European Parliament, I demand full clarification and require further information speedily from the U.S. authorities with regard to these allegations." <em>Martin Schulz, President of the European Parliament, delivers a speech during the funeral ceremony of former Hungarian Prime Minister Gyula Horn at the Fiumei cemetery in Budapest on July 8, 2013. (PETER KOHALMI/AFP/Getty Images)</em>

  • Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger, German Justice Minister

    <a href="http://www.cnn.com/2013/06/30/world/europe/eu-nsa" target="_blank">German Justice Minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger </a>"said if the accusations were true, it was reminiscent of the Cold War," ministry spokesman Anders Mertzlufft said, adding that the minister "has asked for an immediate explanation from the United States." <em>German Justice Minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger arrives for the weekly German federal Cabinet meeting on July 10, 2013 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by Adam Berry/Getty Images)</em>

  • Laurent Fabius, French Foreign Minister

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  • Cristina Fernandez, President Of Argentina

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  • Gilberto Carvalho, Top Aide To Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff

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