EU's Guy Verhofstadt says uncertainty over UK's Brexit stance 'cannot continue'

Pauline Gross
June 20, 2017

In a tweet, Verhofstadt said the "current uncertainty can not continue" after the UK's June 8 general election resulted in a hung parliament and left Prime Minister Theresa May scrambling to form a minority government propped up by the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP).

As a result, she might try to keep some sort of access to the single market.

His comments echo those of EU President Donald Tusk who said on Friday that there was "no time to lose" to avoid Britain crashing out without a deal on future relations.

In January, May outlined her vision of a clean break with the European Union, saying that she wanted Britain to be able to make its own trade deals while maintaining trade with Europe that was as "frictionless as possible".

Time is pressing. After Britain's June 23, 2016 referendum to leave the bloc, the other 27 nations wanted to start the exit talks as soon as possible so they could work on their own futures, but Britain long seemed dazed by its own momentous move.

As May attempts to cobble together a majority, the EU's Michel Barnier said he would hold talks with British envoy Oliver Robbins on Tuesday to organise the negotiations.

"My preoccupation is that time is passing, it is passing quicker than anyone believes because the subjects we have to deal with are extraordinarily complex", he said, according to the Financial Times.

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"The only thing I know is that there is an Article 50 request and we have been preparing ourselves for a long time to start negotiations on that basis".

Macron and Verhofstadt were clear the door would close once Britain formally leaves the European Union at the end of Brexit negotiations in March 2019.

The European Parliament's Brexit negotiator, Guy Verhofstadt, also expressed his frustration.

Guy Verhofstadt said the European Union was "impatiently" waiting for the United Kingdom to set out its position ahead of talks expected to start next week.

He told the parliament: "Yesterday, Emmanuel Macron, the new French president, spoke about an open door".

Macron and May unveiled joint plans to address online extremism by pressuring internet giants and social media to tackle terror propaganda and hate speech.

Speaking on Radio 4's Today programme he said: "We as Conservatives were not returned with a majority and that means that we need to proceed with the maximum possible consensus and that we also need to make sure that the concerns of people who voted Remain, many of whom now actually want us to press ahead with leaving the European Union as quickly and as in as orderly fashion as possible, but we need to make sure that their concerns are part of our conversation".

Other reports by GizPress

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