British elections spur uncertainty over Brexit talks: Dutch experts

Just after noon, she was driven the short distance from the prime minister's offices on Downing Street to Buckingham Palace, where she asked Queen Elizabeth II for permission to form a government - a formality under the British system.

"We are ready to start negotiations. We will wait for the results of these elections but meetings (on Brexit) are going to begin and we are going to defend the interests of the 27 countries which will be in the European Union in the future", Merkel said on Friday.

Juncker said he hoped there would be no further delays, and that the result of the United Kingdom general election would not have a "major impact on the negotiations we are desperately waiting for". "But obviously while also asserting the interests of the 27 member states that will make up the European Union in future", she underlined.

The German chancellor pointed out that regardless of Britain's imminent exit from the European Union, the country will remain a good partner with the bloc.

That notion was perhaps most pronounced in Ireland, where the reality of a future Brexit has threatened to reignite strife over the future of Northern Ireland, which is part of the United Kingdom but voted past year to stay in the European Union.

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May, who became prime minister after Britain's June 2016 referendum on leaving the European Union, called the election three years early in a bid to strengthen her hand in the looming Brexit negotiations.

The Liberal Democrats won 12 seats and the Democratic Unionist Party got 10 seats, while the UK Independence Party did not receive a single seat.

With a 20 percentage point lead over the Labour Party in the opinion polls, May had calculated in April that her Conservative Party would easily build on its thin majority in a snap election, allowing her to mute pro-European voices within her own party.

"We don't know when Brexit talks start", Tusk tweeted.

Planned to start on June 19, Brexit talks risk being delayed causing additional uncertainties as the window of time available to strike a deal before a March 2019 deadline is narrowing.

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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". Mrs May noted that the country should be guided by this Government through the crucial Brexit talks.

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.

Some warned a weakened Westminster government could undermine the Brexit process, with European Parliament's Brexit representative describing the snap General Election as "yet another own goal".

And it was May who had warned that European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker would discover she could be a "bloody hard woman" after details of a dinner attended by May, Juncker and the EU's top Brexit negotiator were leaked to a German newspaper earlier this year.

Oettinger added that "without a government, there's no negotiation".

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Pioneer Investments' head of global asset allocation research Monica Defend says the outcome now is likely no deal or the acceptance of an EU-driven agreement, with the third option of hard Brexit looking increasingly unlikely.

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