Merkel says EU is ‘ready to start Brexit negotiations’
Angela Merkel has said she sees no obstacles in the way of beginning Brexit talks as scheduled after Theresa May failed to win a majority in Thursday’s UK election.
The German chancellor said she believed Britain would stick to the timetable, adding the European Union was “ready”.
Mrs Merkel added she hoped Britain would remain a good partner following the talks, due to begin on 19 June.
It is her first comment since Mrs May’s Conservative party lost 13 seats.
The loss left the Conservatives eight MPs short of a majority in parliament, plunging negotiations into uncertainty. Mrs May called the snap election in order to secure a clear mandate for her vision of Brexit.
A spokesman for Mrs Merkel had previously refused to be drawn on the issue out of “politeness and respect” while the process of forming a new UK government was under way.
Mrs May says she will form a government with the Democratic Unionist Party from Northern Ireland, which won 10 seats.
Mrs Merkel, who is meeting with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto to discuss trade, told reporters gathered in Mexico City on Friday: “I assume that Britain, from what I heard from the prime minister today, wants to stick to its negotiating plan.
“We want to negotiate quickly, we want to stick to the time plan, and so at this point I don’t think there is anything to suggest these negotiations cannot start as was agreed.”
Mrs Merkel went on to say she hoped the UK would remain a good partner.
“Britain is part of Europe, even if it will no longer be part of the European Union.”
However, she added the EU countries would be “asserting the interests of the 27 member states that will make up the European Union in future” during negotiations.