Brexit talks may not start on June 19, David Davis suggests

Brexit minister Davis says UK could still walk away with no deal

Brexit minister Davis says UK could still walk away with no deal

"I don't think we should talk about some prolongation of the deadline", he said in Prague.

The European Union's executive arm has indicated that negotiations with the British government over the country's exit from the bloc may not start next week as planned.

French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe was quick to scotch any suggestion that Britain might do a U-turn and ask to stay in the European Union - something that would need European Union agreement.

"One year after their referendum, we still don't know the British position in the negotiations on Brexit and it seems hard to predict when we will because democracy often requires time", she said. "We should clearly come to terms with the British to start as quickly as possible".

"At the same time, we say that we want to remain a good partner to Britain". May's Conservatives have lost their majority in parliament, party members blamed what one called a " just awful" campaign, training their ire on an election team that highlighted the 60-year-old's flaws by sticking doggedly to an agreed script instead of masking her weaknesses.

"I thought surrealism was a Belgian invention", quipped Verhofstadt, a former Belgian prime minister.

While waiting for the United Kingdom, the European Union has drawn up detailed position papers on its negotiating position in areas including the safeguarding of citizens' rights and the bill it wants Britain to stump up based on previous financial commitments. Brussels is getting increasingly impatient with the poor state of the British side of the negotiations, which are supposed to begin on 19 June, the same day as the Queen's speech. "A weak partner weakens the whole negotiations", he added. Now, all remains unclear.

"The most important thing in the aggregate is the trade area". The risk of having no deal worries some in Britain, particularly businesses.

Finance industry chiefs told Reuters they were pushing ahead with plans to shift staff and operations to the continent since they could not afford to wait for details of an orderly Brexit deal and had to be prepared for talks breaking down. "Do your best to avoid a "no deal" as result of 'no negotiations", European Council President Donald Tusk tweeted following last week's General Election in the UK.

They discussed how talks could proceed, a year after Britons voted to leave the bloc, but set no date for the start of talks on the substance of a withdrawal scheduled for March 2019.

Steven Blockmans of the Center for European Policy Studies said that because of the current chaos, "it is questionable whether that period of time will be sufficient in order to strike a good deal".

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