UK vote a gamble that could complicate Brexit: Europe leaders
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UK vote a gamble that could complicate Brexit: Europe leaders

Result showing Theresa May's Conservative Party loses absolute majority leaves negotiations on ditching EU unclear

European Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs Pierre Moscovici (R) shakes hands with Yu Guangzhou, Minister of the General Administration of Customs of China during a EU China summit next to European Council President Donald Tusk (back-L) Chinese Premier Li Keqiang (back-C) and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker (back-R) on June 2, 2017 in Brussels. (Virginia Mayo / POOL / AFP)
European Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs Pierre Moscovici (R) shakes hands with Yu Guangzhou, Minister of the General Administration of Customs of China during a EU China summit next to European Council President Donald Tusk (back-L) Chinese Premier Li Keqiang (back-C) and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker (back-R) on June 2, 2017 in Brussels. (Virginia Mayo / POOL / AFP)

PARIS, France — Britain was plunged into political turmoil on Friday after Prime Minister Theresa May’s Conservative Party lost its parliamentary majority in a snap election just days before negotiations on leaving the EU were set to kick off.

Here is a roundup of some of the reaction from across Europe to the shock election result:

‘Lost her bet’

“Mrs. May, who was supposed to emerge strengthened, lost her bet and is therefore in a less than clear situation because the truth is that we don’t really know what the governing situation is this morning,” EU Economy Commissioner Pierre Moscovici told French radio Europe 1.

“As far as the EU is concerned, we are ready to open negotiations” on Britain’s exit from the EU,” he added.

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May listens as the declaration at her constituency is made for in the general election in Maidenhead, England, Friday, June 9, 2017. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)
Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May listens as the declaration at her constituency is made for in the general election in Maidenhead, England, Friday, June 9, 2017. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)

Asked whether the Brexit talks could open as soon as the planned June 19 date, he said: “Let’s not rush things but either way, we are ready.”

‘Weak negotiating partner’

“We need a government that is capable of action, which can negotiate Britain’s exit… the British need to negotiate their exit but with a weak negotiating partner, there is a danger that the talks are bad for both parties,” EU budget commissioner Guenther Oettinger told German radio.

European Union (EU) Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society Gunther Oettinger speaks during a press conference on May 30, 2017 at the EU Commission headquarter in Brussels. (THIERRY CHARLIER / AFP)
European Union (EU) Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society Gunther Oettinger speaks during a press conference on May 30, 2017 at the EU Commission headquarter in Brussels. (Thierry Charlier/AFP)

Oettinger said the EU “stands ready” for Brexit talks, “but the next few hours or days will indicate if the other negotiating party can even begin talks because without a government, there can be no negotiations.”

‘The people have spoken’

“The British have spoken, they have voted, and have given the Conservative party a majority, albeit a simple majority, which is something of a surprise,” French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe told Europe 1 radio.

But he added: “I don’t think we should read these results as calling into question the stance on Brexit which was clearly expressed by the British people.”

French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe (L) and French Minister of Transport Elisabeth Borne leave a cabinet meeting on June 7, 2017 at the Elysee Palace, in Paris. (bertrand GUAY / AFP)
French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe (L) and French Minister of Transport Elisabeth Borne leave a cabinet meeting on June 7, 2017 at the Elysee Palace, in Paris. (Bertrand Guay/AFP)

He said the election “had relatively little to do with Brexit and far more to do with domestic issues, for example linked to security” following the terror attacks in Manchester and London.

“I don’t think we can read anything into this vote other than a desire expressed by the British to choose the Conservative Party, but with less intensity than we thought beforehand.”

‘Wait and see’

“The British people have chosen. What the new set-up means for #Brexit we will have to wait and see,” Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said in a tweet.

“The Netherlands is ready for (mutual) cooperation.”

‘The real winner’

“I am happy @Jeremy Corbyn has managed to remarkably boost the Labour Party’s position. He is the actual winner of the early vote in Britain,” Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka, a Social Democrat, said on Twitter.

Britain's opposition Labour party Leader Jeremy Corbyn arrives at Labour Party headquarters in central London on June 9, 2017 after results in a snap general election showing a hung parliament with Labour gains and the Conservatives losing its majority. (Odd ANDERSEN / AFP)
Britain’s opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn arrives at Labour Party headquarters in central London on June 9, 2017 after results in a snap general election. (Odd Andersen/AFP)

Czech Foreign Minister Lubomir Zaoralek, from the same party, tweeted: “The results confirm the ruling party has lost its backing, as opinion polls had suggested. Despite this, I believe it will be possible to put together a majority government fast and to finally start talks about Britain’s exit from the EU after many a postponement. The rest of the EU has been waiting for Britain in suspense for various reasons for a year.”

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