Hung parliament would be a blow to Brexit negotiations

SOURCE AP

SOURCE AP

PARIS Brexit talks will be long and complex but the result of the British general election doesn't call into question Britain's choice to leave the European Union, French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said on Friday.

European Council President Donald Tusk has warned Theresa May there is "no time to lose" in the Brexit negotiations.

While this might seem counterintuitive in an adversarial process, the idea is that if May, for example, increases her slim majority she would be less beholden to eurosceptics in her own party.

"Our shared responsibility and urgent task now is to conduct the negotiations.in the best possible spirit, securing the least disruptive outcome", said Tusk, who warned last month that emotions stirred up on either side of the English Channel during the British election campaign were jeopardising agreement.

May's reappointment and determination to soldier on without a clear majority has muted talk of a different ruling coalition taking power with a mission to seek a "softer" Brexit than May is pursuing, possibly seeking to remain in the single market.

However one European diplomat with experience in global negotiations said the election was just "noise", and that until Britain came to the table the EU wouldn't actually know what its strategy is. "May has put all this in jeopardy", said Nigel Farage, a leading campaigner for Brexit in last year's referendum.

"Britain launched Brexit in March", he said in a tweet. Brexit secretary David Davis also hinted that the issue of single market membership could be open for debate.

Some E.U. officials had voiced hope that a stronger majority for May could allow her to make more concessions in the negotiations.

A number of European officials had been following May's campaign with a mix of puzzlement and some amusement.

Marshawn Lynch chose to unretire when Raiders announced move to Las Vegas
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However, the inconclusive election result will further add to Europe's frustration.

"We are ready for Brexit negotiations..."

She had, he said, "played with fire" in binding Britain to the two-year deadline for Brexit talks and had now "got burned". But until a new government is in place they can not go ahead, the EU's Budget commissioner said on Friday morning.

This, the reasoning goes, would make her able to make compromises on thorny issues such as the exit bill, and on safeguarding benefits and immigration rights of European Union citizens living in Britain. The plan was for the second phase of talks to begin before the end of the year.

"EU is united, UK is deeply split".

"But whether the other side can even begin remains to be seen in the next few hours or the next few days, because without a government, no negotiations".

But more importantly, the clock has not stopped ticking: Britain is leaving the European Union - deal or no deal - at the end of March 2019 unless all member states agree otherwise. The risk of having no deal worries some in Britain, particularly businesses. "Michel Barnier is well prepared".

No deal would also lead to a regulatory no man's land where standards wouldn't be recognised, and many products - including medicines - would no longer be accredited for sale.

Unlike May, the European Union has consistently said that no deal would be the worst scenario for both sides.

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