LONDON, ENGLAND (NEWS 1130) – German EU Commissioner Guenther Oettinger has turned the timetable screws even more on Britain, saying negotiations on its exit from the European Union must actually be finished by October next year, instead of March 2019, to allow the 27 remaining nations to approve the deal.
Oettinger said that “time for Brexit negotiations is getting tight” and added that “they must be closed in October 2018” to allow for the complicated approval process in the member states to run its course ahead of the official two-year deadline.
The two years was already seen as a tight proposition; slashing another six months off would make it even tougher.
Despite what is generally considered a humiliation, European Union President Donald Tusk took time to write British Prime Minister Theresa May to congratulate her in the wake of the elections.
“I would like to congratulate you on your reappointment as Prime Minister,” Tusk wrote, but added immediately that there was much urgency to start the Brexit negotiations. “Our shared responsibility and urgent task now is to conduct the negotiations on the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union in the best possible spirit, securing the least disruptive outcome,” he wrote.
He said the March 2019 deadline “leaves us with no time to lose. I am fully committed to maintaining regular and close contact at our level to facilitate the work of our negotiators.”
Theresa May has confirmed she plans to stay on as Britain’s prime minister to provide certainty to the country, with support from Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party.
After a brief meeting with Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace, May said this morning the new government will guide Britain’s exit talks from the European Union, which are set to begin in just 10 days.
Standing in front of 10 Downing Street, May said her Conservatives and the DUP will work together to “fulfill the promise of Brexit.”
May had called Thursday’s early election to strengthen her hand in Brexit talks but instead the move backfired and she lost the Conservatives’ overall majority in Parliament.