European Union ready for Brexit negotiations, says Merkel

Speaking in Mexico, Mrs Merkel told a news conference: "We are ready for the negotiations".

"We will defend the interests of the 27 member states, and Britain will defend its own interests".

"The timeframe set by Article 50 of the Treaty leaves us with no time to lose", he added, referring to a deadline of March 2019 when Britain will no longer be a member of the bloc, whether or not a deal is reached to avoid legal uncertainties. Even after the exit polls predicted a hung Parliament late on Thursday, the Minister in charge of Brexit, David Davis, suggested the party's proposal to leave the single market and the customs union, while building relations with the rest of the world, was put before the people.

That was also the broadly desired outcome in Brussels, where leaders believed that a stronger British government would be better able to cut compromise deals with the European Union and resist pressure from hardline pro-Brexit factions in her party that have called for Britain to reject European Union terms and potentially walk out without a deal.

On Friday, European Council president Donald Tusk warned Mrs May there is "no time to lose".

"We don't know when Brexit talks start".


European leaders warned the clock was ticking in Brexit negotiations after Theresa May's snap election backfired and plunged the United Kingdom into political turmoil. "We know when they must end", said Mr Tusk. "Do your best to avoid a "no deal" as result of "no negotiations".

Earlier, EU Economic and Financial Affairs Commissioner Pierre Moscovici said the result would have an impact on the "spirit" of the Brexit negotiations due to start later this month.

Brussels' chief negotiator Michel Barnier said Brexit talks could wait until the new government was ready. After all, it was around seeking validation for her Brexit approach that Prime Minister Theresa May pegged the need for the election.

Theresa May's future as Prime Minister is now in jeopardy as her decision to call a snap election backfired spectacularly as the Conservative Party failed to secure a majority, resulting instead in a hung parliament.

Guy Verhofstadt, the liberal former Belgian premier who is now the European Parliament's Brexit representative, said: "Yet another own goal, after Cameron now May, will make already complex negotiations even more complicated".

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