June 9, 2017 / 6:24 AM / a year ago

EU's Moscovici says British vote to influence 'spirit' of Brexit talks

PARIS (Reuters) - The result of the parliamentary election in Britain will have an impact on the “spirit” of the Brexit negotiations the country is due to hold with the European Union, EU Economic and Financial Affairs Commissioner Pierre Moscovici said on Friday.

European Economic and Financial Affairs Commissioner Pierre Moscovici arrives for a euro zone finance ministers meeting in Brussels, Belgium May 22, 2017. REUTERS/Eric Vidal

“(This result) will not be without impact, undoubtedly, on the spirit of the negotiations, but it doesn’t call into question the start of the negotiation itself,” he told Europe 1 radio.

“The calendar (of Brexit) is not optional,” he said.

British voters dealt Prime Minister Theresa May a punishing blow, denying her the stronger mandate she had sought to conduct Brexit talks and instead weakening her party’s grip on power.

The initial exit poll predicted the Conservatives, traditionally favoured by markets as pro-business and fiscally prudent, would win 314 seats in the 650-member parliament and the opposition Labour Party 266, meaning no clear winner and a “hung parliament”.

Brexit talks are due to start this month. Guenther Oettinger, the German member of the European Commission, said it was unclear if negotiations could be launched on June 19 as planned.

Reporting by Sophie Louet; Writing by Matthias Blamont; Editing by Leigh Thomas

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