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Brexit plans unchanged by snap election
European Council President Donald Tusk © European People's Party

Brexit plans ‘unchanged’ by snap election

19/04/17Government

The European Council has said that the EU’s Brexit plans will remain unchanged by UK Prime Minister Theresa May’s snap election announcement.

May, who had previously said she would not call a general election before 2020, announced yesterday (18 April) that a snap general election will be held on 8 June.

Despite this European Council President Donald Tusk’s spokesman said the 27 other EU states would forge ahead as planned.

“The UK elections do not change our EU27 plans,” Tusk’s spokesman said.

He added: “We expect to have the Brexit guidelines adopted by the European Council on 29 April and following that the Brexit negotiating directives ready on 22 May. This will allow the EU27 to start negotiations.”

Tusk and May had a “good” conversation on the phone following the announcement, the council president tweeted.

He also tweeted: ‘It was Hitchcock, who directed Brexit: first an earthquake and the tension rises.’

German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said in a statement that ‘predictability and reliability’ were ‘more important than ever’ in the wake of the Brexit vote.

‘Any extended period of uncertainty is surely not good for the political and economic relations between Europe and Great Britain,’ he added. ‘Hopefully, the elections announced today by Prime Minister May can lead to more clarity and predictability in the negotiations with the EU.’

However, Belgian MEP Tom Vandenkendelaere, of the European People’s Party (EPP), tweeted: ‘Understandable choice to strengthen negotiation mandate for #Brexit, but at the same time huge gamble and risk of even greater instability.’

There was also speculation among European politicians over what impact the election result would have on the UK’s approach to Brexit.

Jo Leinen, a German MEP in the Party of European Socialists (PES), tweeted: ‘The elections in #GB on the 8th June are the perfect opportunity – especially for the young generation – to avert hard #Brexit.’