EU chief calls on May to press ahead with Brexit talks


British voters dealt Prime Minister Theresa May a devastating blow in a snap election she had called to strengthen her hand in Brexit talks, wiping out her parliamentary majority and throwing the country into political turmoil.

Speaking during a visit to Mexico, Mrs Merkel ended her brief period of "polite" restraint from commenting on Mrs May's catastrophic poll.

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.

The election outcome saw incumbent Prime Minister Theresa May's gambit to secure a greater majority as a disastrous failure, with the Conservative party losing seats and forming an alliance with the Democratic Unionist Party in order to form a government.

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They want to talk about a divorce settlement first: about the rights of European Union citizens in Britain, and of Britons in Europe; about the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, which remains a member of the bloc; and about the most contentious issue in any divorce: the money. Negotiations with the European Union are scheduled to begin later this month.

Donald Tusk, the president of the European Council, in a letter of congratulations to May, who remains, for the moment, Britain's prime minister, reiterated the need to move quickly on Brexit talks before the March 2019 deadline. "We want to hold speedy talks", she told reporters. "We know when they must end", said Mr Tusk. "Do your best to avoid a "no deal" as result of 'no negotiations'".

Any new coalition government could also take a softer Brexit stance in the scheduled talks, even possibly seeking to remain within the single market, which trigger further problems.

The UK may need to stop the clock on negotiations to leave the European Union while it sorts out a political mess, a JPMorgan analyst said, but the EU might seek to keep the original timeline.

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Guy Verhofstadt, President of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe and a member of the EU's Brexit negotiating team, made no secret of his hopes ahead of the election, tweeting a picture of European Union and British unity.

Corbyn said that May should resign as prime minister and that he wanted to form a minority government, uniting the smaller parties.

"First, let's not confuse these results with a new Brexit referendum - that's already done", said Pierre Moscovici, the current European Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs and a former French finance minister, in an interview.

"I think that Brexit actually is going to have to be negotiated in a very different way", she told ITV.

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Despite facing calls to quit after her election gamble to win a stronger mandate backfired, May will proceed on Friday to ask Queen Elizabeth for permission to form a government.