EU welcomes UK snap election
European Council President Donald Tusk said he does not expect negotiation plans for Brexit to be affected by the decision to hold an early election in the UK on 8 June.
Theresa May | Photo credit: Press Association
Following UK Prime Minister Theresa May's announcement on Tuesday, Tusk said he had a good phone call with her.
Leading the EU reaction to the news, the Pole, who will chair a summit of the other 27 EU leaders next week to agree the Brexit negotiating position, said he did not think plans would be affected by the move.
"The UK elections do not change our EU27 plans," said a spokesperson for Tusk.
"We expect to have the Brexit guidelines adopted by the European Council on 29 April and, following that, the Brexit negotiating directives ready on 22 May.
"This will allow the EU27 to start negotiations," he added.
There was further reaction from other senior EU figures.
European Commission spokesperson Margaritis Schinas appeared to support the call for an early UK general election, saying, "We are in favour.
"Elections are good. The European Union is a union of democracies. There are elections everywhere."
Syed Kamall, leader of Parliament's ECR group, said, "I very much welcome the announcement by May that she will stage an election on 8 June.
"A decisive victory for the Conservative Party will provide clarity for both sides in the forthcoming Brexit negotiations, create greater unity within the UK and provide the basis from which to secure a deal that is in the best interests of people in the UK and across the EU."
Daniel Dalton, a UK Conservative MEP, said, "In the West Midlands we have been seeing real momentum for the Conservative party. During the past two years as an MEP I have seen growing numbers of people around the region welcoming our message and our plan.
Further comment came from Ukip leader Paul Nuttall who welcomed May's decision but branded it cynical.
He said, "We welcome the opportunity to take Ukip's positive message to the country.
"However, we believe that the Prime Minister's decision to call this election is a cynical decision driven more by the weakness of Corbyn's Labour Party rather than the good of the country."
Elsewhere, former UK Liberal MEP Andrew Duff told this website, "May does this to marginalise the far right in her party so that she can win a majority for the looming EU association agreement, post-Brexit. It's a clever move - but very high risk too."
US President Donald Trump arrived in Belgium on Wednesday to relatively little fanfare but with hopes high that his visit, his first overseas trip as president, could help heal EU-US relations....
MEPs have overwhelmingly backed measures that call for national parliaments to have a greater say on EU legislation.
Campaigners say that Parliament’s decision to launch a fresh crackdown on Hungary marks a clear red line on the protection of rights.
The EU must 'take the lead' in tackling alcohol-related harm, writes Mariann Skar.
As presidency candidates call for 'new start', very few concrete plans are being put forward on 'Europe's youth', says Patrik Kovács.
Who is controlling the counter-narratives to extremism? This is the question that many EU policymakers want answered, argues Tehmina Kazi.