British election may have impact on Brexit talks – Finland PM

Finnish Prime Minister Juha Sipila said Tuesday that the outcome of the British general election in June may have an impact on Brexit talks, but would not reverse Britain’s decision to leave the European Union (EU), national broadcaster Yle reported.

“The timing of the announcement was a surprise, but it does not change the process,” Sipila said, adding that the new cabinet would determine its aims in the exit talks.

Teija Tiilikainen, director of the Finnish Institute of International Affairs, told newspaper Helsingin Sanomat that Britain could, in theory, cancel its decision to pull out of the EU, but it was unlikely.

“As far as the EU is concerned, Britain could still call off the exit process, but stopping a train in progress is not very simple any longer. It would require in Britain a decision on whether to arrange a new referendum or not,” Tiilikainen said.

She predicted that the early elections in Britain would increase “turbulence” in Europe, and the pressure of the exit talks schedule would not be eased. “When the government is preparing for elections, it has difficulty promoting major political issues at the same time,” she said.

British Prime Minister Theresa May on Tuesday called a snap general election for June 8 in an unexpected announcement that came as a shock to the country and Europe.

 

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