Donald Tusk: 'No time to lose' in Brexit negotiations

The EU is eyeing 19 June, 11 days after tomorrow's election, for the formal start of two years of tough talks, with informal contacts "soon" after the election result.

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.

While many have suggested that European leaders in Brussels will be rubbing their hands in glee at the result of the United Kingdom election, the truth is that lawmakers are eager to get the negotiations underway as soon as possible, and worry that any uncertainty in London will delay and complicate the process even further.

Keeping up his razor sharp observations of the UK's shambolic Brexit preparations he added: "I thought surrealism was a Belgian invention". "At the most untimely point in time. the British political system is in total disarray".

The British Chambers of Commerce struck a similar tone, with director general Adam Marshall saying: "After two long years of elections, referenda and wider uncertainty, many businesses were doing their best to ignore the noise of politics - up until today". We need meaningful progress on a modern industrial strategy by the end of the year, with real change on the ground on skills, infrastructure and innovation.

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". "With a weak negotiating partner, there's a danger the negotiations will turn out badly".

"We need a government that can act", Oettinger told the Deutschlandfunk radio station.

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European Union leaders fear Prime Minister Theresa May's shock loss of her majority in the snap British election will delay Brexit talks due to start this month and raise the risk of negotiations failing.

Speaking to French Europe 1 radio, European Union commissioner Mr Moscovici said: 'Mrs May, who was supposed to emerge strengthened, lost her bet and is therefore in a less than clear situation because the truth is that we don't really know what the governing situation is this morning'.

"In the long-term I believe this election could be a positive as we take a more realistic approach to Brexit negotiations".

Mrs May and her Brexit minister David Davis have repeatedly warned that "no deal is better than a bad deal", particularly when it comes to a potential €100bn exit bill.

Protracted negotiations over the formation of a new government - or even a second general election in 2017 - could put back the start of formal talks, squeezing even further the limited time available to forge a complex withdrawal agreement and a separate deal on future trade arrangements.

Oettinger added that "without a government, there's no negotiation".

"In the days ahead, FSB members will want to see ministers appointed and a clear timetable for the coming weeks".

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