Merkel urges speedy Brexit talks after United Kingdom vote

Monday, 12 Jun, 2017

Last week, they gave the European Commission a detailed mandate for the Brexit negotiations. "Before we ask questions about extending negotiations with our British friends, it's necessary that they start". A pause requires goodwill from Britain's European partners, who are unlikely to feel generous after watching an ugly, EU-bashing election campaign.

Donald Tusk has warned Britain to speed up Brexit negotiations to avoid ending up without a deal.

The talks were set to officially begin on June 19. It could plunge the country into a prolonged period of political uncertainty and horsetrading over the formation of a coalition government, or possibly even another election.

May Friday insisted that she would stick to the Brexit timetable. "But all is less clear - the political situation in Britain in general, the new minority government and its leadership".

Considerably less sympathetic to May's self-inflicted gunshot wound was Guy Verhofstadt, the European parliament's Brexit representative, who called the result "yet another own goal - after Cameron now May".

A similar line emerged in Germany.

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May greets Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at 10 Downing Street in London, February 6, 2017.

Along those lines, Michel Barnier, the EU's principal Brexit negotiator, even seemed willing to play ball with a Britain thrust into internal turmoil.

Former minister Anna Soubry said Mrs May should "consider her position" after a "dreadful campaign" while backbencher Heidi Allen suggested she could be out within a matter of months, depending on the Brexit negotiations.

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The UK and Irish governments are now trying to mediate between the DUP and Irish nationalists to restore the Northern Irish government.

"I hope the United Kingdom will soon have a stable government to start negotiations", he told The Associated Press.

Labour's dramatically improved performance in the election was due in large part to a surge in young voters backing it, many of whom voted for the party partly because they saw it as the best vehicle to soften Brexit and derail May's plan for a sharp break with the EU.

Justifying her decision to call a "Brexit election", the PM said back in April: "The country is coming together, but Westminster is not". Some say her failure means the government must now take a more flexible approach to the divorce.

Barnier indicated on Twitter that the European Union was prepared to show some patience, making clear that talks should not begin until the UK's domestic political chaos is resolved.

The U.K. economy, which was until recently the strongest performer in Europe, has fallen to the bottom of the growth league, delivering weaker expansion in the first quarter than the other 27 members of the EU.

Be proactive - Use the "Flag as Inappropriate" link at the upper right corner of each comment to let us know of abusive posts. The EU is willing to shift that start date.

Now, the rest of the European Union must prepare to negotiate with a much more fragile political system in the UK.