EU chief Jean Claude Juncker said that real political negotiations would not start until British voters chose their next prime minister.
Brussels Insists Brexit Negotiations to Start Only After June Election
The Brussels boss had agreed with Theresa May to call a snap election. However, officials insisted that the move is not an attempt to postpone the Brexit talks saying that the UK elections are in line with the EU’s proposed timeframe for the talks.
EU Commission senior spokesperson Margaritis Schinas said, “The president considers that actual negotiations on Article 50 will begin after the elections set for June 8.”
Mr. Schinas said they had not discussed any postponement of the Brexit talks, adding that, “The timing will not change because negotiations were set to start in June irrespective of the election decision of the UK Government.”
Mrs. May announced the snap election Wednesday and said it would be held on June 8 prior to starting full negotiations with the EU.
The Prime Minister has called the election to ensure she has a solid mandate to bring to the negotiations with Brussels and to have a large majority in the House of Commons to aid in a smoother negotiation process.
Mr. Schinas also added that the Commission would not have any role in the elections given that it is a domestic UK matter and that the EU will not support any side.
He said, “As we’ve already said, the elections in the UK are solely the business of British voters.”
He added, “It is not for us to intervene and we are not going to be campaigning. This is not an election debate that the commission will play a role in.”
On Wednesday, officials in Michael Barnier’s team suggested that if the election brought in a strong leader it would help the talks go on smoothly.
EU officials belief that a strong UK government will be more confident in its pursuit of a coherent stance and to compromise, therefore minimizing the chances of a zero game outcome.
A senior EU analyst however warned that such expectations could be misplaced. He posited that a victory for Mrs. May could still give her a stronger mandate to pursue a precise Brexit.