The “real political” negotiations on Britain’s exit from the European Union will start after the snap British election in June, an EU spokesman said Wednesday.
European Commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas made the remarks after saying his boss, Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, spoke Tuesday to British Prime Minister Theresa May following her shock call for an early election.
“The president considers that the real political negotiations on article 50 with the UK will start after the elections foreseen for the 8th of June,” Schinas told a press conference in Brussels without saying whether May had made the suggestion.
The British parliament is due to vote Wednesday on May’s call for the election as she tries to make strong gains against the opposition before tough Brexit negotiations.
Schinas said May’s announcement had not postponed the negotiations as they had been scheduled to begin in June anyway.
“There is no issue of timing or postponement,” he said.
Preben Aamann, spokesman for Donald Tusk, president of the European Council of member states, said Brussels did not expect the timeline for the Brexit negotiations to be affected by an early general election.
“We expect to have the Brexit guidelines adopted by the European Council on 29 April and, following that, the Brexit negotiating directives ready on 22 May,” Aamann told AFP.
“This will allow the EU27 to start negotiations,” he said.
Tusk issued a set of draft guidelines late last month rejecting May’s call for talks on the terms of the divorce bill and on a future trade deal in parallel during the two years of negotiations ahead of Britain’s exit in March 2019.
The remaining 27 EU countries will be asked to endorse Tusk’s guidelines at a summit on April 29. Then, on May 22, member states are scheduled to formally issue detailed directives for the negotiations, clearing the way for chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier to begin formal negotiations with Britain. -AFP.