BRUSSELS: The EU said today it did not expect negotiating guidelines for Britain's exit from the bloc to be affected by the British government's call for an early general election.
British Prime Minister Theresa May called today for snap polls in a surprise announcement as Britain prepares for delicate Brexit negotiations.
"The UK elections do not change our EU27 plans," said Preben Aamann, spokesman for Donald Tusk, president of the European Council of the remaining 27 member states.
"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," Aamann told AFP.
"This will allow the EU27 to start negotiations," he added.
Tusk issued a set of draft guidelines late last month rejecting May's call for talks on the terms of the divorce bill and on a future trade deal in parallel during the two years of negotiations ahead of Britain's exit in March 2019.
The remaining 27 EU countries are set to rubber-stamp Tusk's guidelines at a summit on April 29, paving the way for chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier to begin formal negotiations with Britain at the end of May.