Published: Mon, June 19, 2017
Economy | By Annette Adams

German minister sees hope of 'soft' Brexit, with conditions


British Prime Minister Theresa May will face an immediate leadership challenge from eurosceptic lawmakers in her party if she seeks to water down her plans for Brexit, the Sunday Telegraph reported, citing senior Conservative sources. May and Foster later left through different exits.

Such is the collapse of May's authority that her entire Brexit strategy is being picked apart in public by her ministers, her lawmakers and her allies on the eve of formal negotiations which begin in Brussels on Monday at 0900 GMT.

Sky News understands that the United Kingdom team has spent the weekend finalising their negotiating strategy which has been called into question following the unexpected election result.

But a deal with the DUP risks destabilising Northern Ireland by increasing the influence of pro-British unionists.

"We want both sides to emerge strong and prosperous, capable of projecting our shared European values, leading in the world, and demonstrating our resolve to protect the security of our citizens".

One European diplomat in London said the political upheaval was such that it was hard to know what to write back to his capital, pouring scorn on May's campaign slogan of "strong and stable leadership".

"I am concerned about the deal. I am dubious about it", Major said.

A parliamentary session usually runs for a year, from spring to spring.

'Leaving customs union' But finance minister Philip Hammond confirmed June 18 that Britain would still be leaving the EU, the single market and the customs union.

"The UK will remain a committed partner and ally of our friends across the continent", Davis said.

May faces a hard balancing act: Divisions over Europe helped sink the premierships of Margaret Thatcher, John Major and David Cameron, and many of her lawmakers and party membership support a sharp break with the EU.

"The Tory civil war on the European Union which has ripped it apart since the Maastricht rebellions of the early 1990s, and which the referendum was supposed to solve, is now raging again", said Chris Grey, an academic who specializes in Brexit at Royal Holloway college in London.

May herself will also have a chance to update the other 27 European Union leaders on her Brexit plans at a summit in Brussels on Thursday.

The performance of the British economy could also influence perceptions of Brexit.

The European Union will be "amicable and firm" with Britain in Brexit negotiations due to start on Monday, and all possible options are on the table, the EU's Economic and Financial Affairs Commissioner Pierre Moscovici said. "And fair means that we want to keep the British as close as possible to the European Union - but never at the price that we divide the remaining 27 European Union states".

The veteran conservative predicted that Britain would regret its departure from the bloc at some point in the future. "But it remains another question if I'll still witness this", Schaeuble, 74, said.

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