European Union tells May 'no time to lose' on Brexit

Nick Mcbride
June 14, 2017

German Commissioner Günther Oettinger, who is known for often going beyond the Commission's official line in his statements, said in an interview that a weak British negotiating partner would further complicate talks on the country's exit from the EU. Now that it made a decision to jump ship, it seems it can't get its act together to actually leave.

The Chancellor did not comment on elections that concluded on Friday, in which British Prime Minister Theresa May's Conservative Party lost the absolute majority.

EU Council President Donald Tusk told Britain in a Tweet: "Do your best to avoid a "no deal" as result of "no negotiations". But even DUP leader Arlene Foster has misgivings about the "Hard Brexit" strategy pursued by May and her Eurosceptic colleagues.

Markus Ferber, a German Conservative said: "At the most untimely point".

On June 23 it will be a full year since Britain voted to leave the EU.

Business and investors want clarity about the terms of Brexit as soon as possible, because they need to know what kind of access United Kingdom companies will have to Europe's vast free trading area in future.

"The terms of us leaving are so much more up for grabs than they were before", he said. "I do hope that the result of the elections will have no major impact on the negotiations we are desperately waiting for", he said.

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Then in April, Cameron's successor, May, called an early election that again stalled talks with Brussels.

"She has to go and ask for things now and they can say "well we'll see".

"I thought surrealism was a Belgian invention", quipped Verhofstadt, a former Belgian prime minister. Now, all remains unclear.

That would also make it improbable that Britain could secure the rapid free trade agreement it wants with the European Union after it leaves.

That was also the broadly desired outcome in Brussels, where leaders believed that a stronger May would be better able to cut compromise deals with the European Union, and resist pressure from hardline pro-Brexit factions in her party which have called for Britain to reject European Union terms and, possibly, walk out without a deal. The risk of having no deal worries some in Britain, particularly businesses.

The other 27 governments are particularly concerned that a breakdown in negotiations could lead to Britain ceasing to be a member on March 30, 2019, as laid out in Article 50 of the European Union treaty, without negotiating the kind of divorce terms that would avoid a chaotic legal limbo for people and businesses. "I am fully committed to maintaining regular and close contact at our level to facilitate the work of our negotiators". The economy is already forecast by the Bank of England and most private economists to slow down this year and next, and sterling hit a two-month low overnight as the scale of the confusion became clear. "So our expectation and hope is that there is a new government in London as soon as possible".

Other reports by VgToday

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