From Council President Donald Tusk to European Parliament political group leaders, uproar is growing following disastrous results for UK Prime Minister Theresa May in a general election she herself triggered.
Theresa May called the snap election in an attempt to increase her majority and strengthen her position in the upcoming Brexit negotiations but her gamble backfired spectacularly after she failed to win enough seats to form a Conservative government.
Council leader Tusk expressed his worries about the consequences the election result will have on the Brexit talks, which should normally have started on 19 June.
We don't know when Brexit talks start. We know when they must end. Do your best to avoid a "no deal" as result of "no negotiations". #GE2017
— Donald Tusk (@eucopresident) June 9, 2017
European Commission Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier appeared to show some understanding, saying that the talks should start when the UK is ready.
#Brexit negotiations should start when UK is ready; timetable and EU positions are clear. Let's put our minds together on striking a deal
— Michel Barnier (@MichelBarnier) June 9, 2017
Socialist group leader Gianni Pittella called the election result a “disaster” for May and called for her resignation.
It's a disaster for May. Her huge gamble has backfired spectacularly. She has no credibility in UK or Europe. She should resign. #GE2017
— Gianni Pittella (@giannipittella) June 9, 2017
In a press release, the leader of the Party of European Socialists (PES) Sergei Stanishev, in which he said that even if Theresa May “somehow survives as prime minister in the short term”, her credibility would be “utterly undermined”.
The leader of the centre-right EPP group Manfred Weber said May had brought “chaos” and highlighted that although the UK is divided, the EU is united.
— Manfred Weber (@ManfredWeber) June 9, 2017
ALDE group leader Guy Verhofstadt, who gained notoriety in the UK for his verbal jousting with UKIP’s Nigel Farage in the European Parliament, compared the self-inflicted damage caused by former PM David Cameron’s calling of the Brexit referendum with the early elections called by May.
Yet another own goal, after Cameron now May, will make already complex negotiations even more complicated.
— Guy Verhofstadt (@GuyVerhofstadt) June 9, 2017
German Commissioner Günther Oettinger, who is known for often going beyond the Commission’s official line in his statements, said in an interview that a weak British negotiating partner would further complicate talks on the country’s exit from the EU.
“We need a government that is capable of action, which can negotiate Britain’s exit… the British need to negotiate their exit but with a weak negotiating partner, there is a danger that the talks are bad for both parties,” Oettinger, who is responsible for the EU budget, told German radio.
He added that the EU is “ready” for the talks, “but the next few hours or days will indicate if the other negotiating party can even begin talks because without a government, there can be no negotiations”.