EU tells May "no time to lose" on Brexit talks

Nick Mcbride
June 14, 2017

Angela Merkel has said Brexit negotiations should go ahead as scheduled in nine days' time - despite the United Kingdom being plunged into political turmoil by the General Election.

The British pound plunged to a seven-week low on Friday after a shock election result cast doubt on Britain's talks to leave the European Union, but global equity markets rallied with key indices on Wall Street hitting new record highs. At the time, Conservatives had a four-seat majority (51% of all 650 seats) in the House of Commons. The lack of a clear majority for any party could force a more consensual approach.

The Czech prime minister said Friday that Britain should not be granted any extension on the two-year deadline for the Brexit talks.

He tweeted: "We don't know when Brexit talks start".

"We will continue to work with our friends and allies, in the Democratic Unionist Party in particular", May added.

While the 27 would quite possibly be willing to extend to Britain the same kind of access to EU markets that they offer to Norway or Switzerland, they have made clear that would mean Britain continuing to pay into the EU budget and obey EU rules, including on free migration across the bloc, while no longer having any say in how the Union's policies are set.

Verhofstadt, the former Prime Minister of Belgium, added that if the Conservative Party focuses on attacking Brussels and the European Union, "they will just get deeper in self-inflicted trouble". The decision started the clock on the two-year period in which Brexit negotiations must be completed.

Detailed negotiations haven't yet started, however.

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"If the Conservatives govern as a minority, they must recognise that they have not earned a mandate to implement their manifesto in full", Stephen Martin, director general of the Institute of Directors, said in a statement.

"I hope that the British will be able to form as soon as possible a stable government". Brussels is the de facto capital of the EU.

"There isn't a parliamentary majority for anybody at the present time, the party that has lost in this election is the Conservative Party", he said.

With the UK economy expected to grow more slowly from here, UBS Wealth Management deputy head of UK investment office Caroline Simmons said she favors an underweight position on UK equities relative to their eurozone counterparts.

In his speech in Prague, Juncker said that he strongly hopes "that Britain will stay ready to open negotiations".

May had promised a clean break, taking Britain out of the EU's unified trading area and reducing the number of people coming to the country from the EU. Immigration limits could stifle their access to the EU's enterprising and skilled talent pool. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn - whose party won more seats than virtually anyone thought it could - is jubilant.

Gianni Pittella, the leader of the Socialists & Democrats, said that the British PM "wasted enough time" and called on her to resign.

Other reports by VgToday

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