EU Ready to Start Brexit Talks

Merkel said she believes Britain would stick to the timetable, stressing that the European Union is ready for Brexit talks
German Chancellor Angela MerkelGerman Chancellor Angela Merkel

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said she sees no obstacles in the way of beginning Brexit talks as scheduled, after British Premier Theresa May failed to win a majority in Thursday’s election.

The German chancellor said she believes Britain would stick to the timetable, adding that the European Union is “ready”.

Merkel added that she hoped Britain would remain a good partner following the talks, due to begin on 19 June, BBC reported.

It is her first comment since May’s Conservative party lost 13 seats.

The loss left the Conservatives eight MPs short of a majority in parliament, plunging negotiations into uncertainty. May called the snap election in order to secure a clear mandate for her vision of Brexit.

A spokesman for Merkel had previously refused to be drawn on the issue out of “politeness and respect” while the process of forming a new UK government was underway.

May says she will form a government with the Democratic Unionist Party from Northern Ireland, which won 10 seats.

Merkel, who is meeting with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto to discuss trade, told reporters gathered in Mexico City on Friday: “I assume that Britain, from what I heard from the prime minister today, wants to stick to its negotiating plan.

“We want to negotiate quickly; we want to stick to the time plan, and so at this point I don’t think there is anything to suggest these negotiations cannot start as was agreed.”

Merkel went on to say she hoped the UK would remain a good partner.

“Britain is part of Europe, even if it will no longer be part of the European Union.”

However, she added that EU countries would be “asserting the interests of the 27 member states that will make up the European Union in future” during negotiations.

  Face Realities”

Michael Fuchs, senior economic adviser to the German chancellor, told the BBC the result meant it was time for May “to face realities” and soften her approach.

“Her wish and will was not really too much accepted by the British people,” he said. “I have the feeling, because otherwise they would have given her a better vote.

“Maybe, this is a chance that we can come up to a more reasonable Brexit negotiations because in the last time (recently) I really had the feeling that everything was just being very tough and it doesn’t make sense to be tough.

“We want to have a fair deal with Britain and we want to have a fair final Brexit negotiations.”

“Yet another own goal, after Cameron now May; will make already complex negotiations even more complicated,” he tweeted.

Jean-Claude Juncker, the head of European Commission, said he wanted discussions to proceed without delay, while Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief negotiator for Brexit, said “negotiations should start when UK is ready”.

European Council President Donald Tusk alluded to the March 2019 deadline for Brexit talks.

“We don’t know when Brexit talks start. We know when they must end. Do your best to avoid a ‘no deal’ as a result of ‘no negotiations’,” he wrote.


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