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Brexit: EU negotiator warns UK 'I can't negotiate with myself'

Posted June 13

The European Union has called on the UK to have a greater sense of urgency on Brexit negotiations days after Prime Minister Theresa May failed to win a majority in the general election.

Speaking in an interview with various European publications, Michel Barnier warned that time is "passing quicker than anyone believes -- because the subjects we need to deal with are extraordinarily complex from a technical, judicial and financial point of view."

"I can't negotiate by myself," he added.

With the UK still coming to grips with election result, Barnier urged London to appoint a negotiating team in order to start talks as soon as possible.

"I need a British delegation on the other side of the table, a head of the British delegation that is stable, accountable and that has a mandate," Barnier said.

The Brexit negotiator asked London not to "waste time" and explained that it will take "several months to draw out the conditions of an orderly withdrawal, with difficult and sensitive points of discussion".

He also pointed out that three months after Article 50 had been triggered, formal discussions had yet to start.

"We haven't negotiated, we haven't progressed. Thus we must begin this negotiation. We are ready as soon as the UK itself is ready," he said.

Barnier's interview will heap yet more pressure on May, who called a snap general election to give her a stronger hand at the Brexit negotiating table.

May is set to meet with the Democratic Unionist Party of Northern Ireland on Tuesday to cobble together a deal to ensure her minority government can get its Queen's Speech through Parliament.

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