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Brexit

Merkel wants quick Brexit talks after May’s UK election setback

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 10 June, 2017, 12:24pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 10 June, 2017, 10:47pm

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has urged Britainto quickly launch Brexit talks with the European Union after Prime Minister Theresa May suffered a harsh election setback.

“We are ready for the negotiations. We want to do it quickly, respecting the calendar,” Merkel said during a visit to Mexico.

She said talks with Britain on its withdrawal from what will now be the 27-member EU would start “in the coming days”.

“We were waiting for the election in Britain, but in the next few days these talks will begin. We will defend the interests of the 27 member states, and Britain will defend its own interests.

“At the same time, we say that we want to remain a good partner to Britain. Britain is part of Europe, even if it will no longer be part of the European Union.”

May, who became prime minister after Britain’s June 2016 referendum on leaving the EU, called the election three years early in a bid to strengthen her hand in the looming Brexit negotiations.

But in a catastrophic setback, the bet failed and she lost her overall majority and would lead a minority government backed by a small Northern Irish party.

British politicians differ widely on what they want from the Brexit negotiating process, seeing it as a way to shift Britain either to the right or left. Some parliamentarians in both the Conservative and Labour parties want to remain in the EU.

EU leaders expressed concern that May’s loss of her majority would raise the risk of negotiations failing, resulting in a legal limbo for people and business.

Agence France-Presse, Reuters