The European Union and the United States should be able to start free trade negotiations by the end of June, the European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said on Wednesday.

Speaking after the release of a joint U.S./EU report recommending the start of talks, Barroso said the two were expected to launch the talks in the first half of the year.

President Barack Obama on Tuesday called for talks on a far-reaching free trade agreement with the 27 nations of the European Union, throwing his weight behind a deal that would encompass half the world's economic output.

(Reporting By Philip Blenkinsop)