Donald Tusk warns Theresa May there is 'no time to lose'

In an exclusive article for MailOnline Theresa May warns that the outcome of the Brexit negotiations in 12 days time hangs in the balance

In an exclusive article for MailOnline Theresa May warns that the outcome of the Brexit negotiations in 12 days time hangs in the balance

EU Council President Donald Tusk told Britain in a Tweet: "Do your best to avoid a "no deal" as result of "no 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 for our citizens, businesses and countries after March 2019", said Tusk, who chairs summits of European Union leaders.

The other 27 governments are particularly concerned that a breakdown in negotiations could lead to Britain ceasing to be a member on March 30, 2019, as laid out in Article 50 of the European Union treaty, without negotiating the kind of divorce terms that would avoid a chaotic legal limbo for people and businesses.

In the wake of last year's Brexit referendum, called and lost by Prime Minister David Cameron, Britain's Conservative party took a long time to reorganize itself before it finally triggered the Brexit negotiations on March 29.

She had even threatened to walk away from Europe without paying a hefty divorce bill or striking a new trade deal - the nightmare scenario for business and the economy.

EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier indicated the remaining 27 members were prepared to be flexible.

The socialist leader in the European Parliament, Gianna Pitella, praised Jeremy Corbyn for running a "strong and positive campaign", and said he wanted the Prime Minister to resign, calling the election a "disaster" for her.

Brussels had set June 19 as the start date for talks, but the bloc's leaders said that was now in doubt after Prime Minister Theresa May's gamble to strengthen her parliamentary mandate backfired.

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May leaves the Conservative Party's Headquarters after Britain's election in London June 9, 2017.

Speaking in Mexico, Mrs Merkel told a news conference: "We are ready for the negotiations". "With a weak negotiating partner, there's a danger the negotiations will turn out badly".

Europe's top economic and finance official, Pierre Moscovici, said the election result was likely to have an impact "on the character of the negotiations".

"The UK general election result creates uncertainty over the policy platform, political cohesion and longevity of the next UK government", Fitch said in a statement.

To keep within the timeframe, the European Union nations "need a draft agreement before end of October next year", to have enough time to push it through their own decision-making process.

The article said Mrs May is "mortally wounded" and looked ahead to who could potentially emerge from the political wreckage, saying: "Boris Johnson is the most obvious Tory victor from the fallout".

"The terms of us leaving are so much more up for grabs than they were before", he said.

Veteran Europhile Ken Clarke, breaking his silence after a three-month illness that required heart surgery, nearly appeared to be gloating when he said: "Perhaps a little more cross-party discussion, particularly on Brexit, and a little less shouting slogans".

"But whether the other side can even begin remains to be seen in the next few hours or the next few days, because without a government, no negotiations".

"If the United Kingdom was to turn around and say, "we need a bit of leeway" - we don't have a lot of leeway in the big scheme of things".

Theresa May repeatedly urged voters to hand her a large majority so that she could go into talks in Brussels with the firm backing of the country and the House of Commons behind her.

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