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Real Brexit talks will only start after June vote

The president of the European Commission believes “real”Brexit talks will only start after British snap elections called for June 8, an EU spokesman said on Wednesday.

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Britain will also not have a say in the future location of London-based EU agencies, he added, contradicting one UK official who said this week that the issue would be part of the Brexit negotiations.

The chief of the EU executive Jean-Claude Juncker and British Prime Minister Theresa May had a phone call on Tuesday evening, following May’s call for early elections in June, a European Commission spokesman told a news conference.

“Following their conversation, the president considers that the real political negotiations on Article 50 with the United Kingdom will start after the elections foreseen for the 8th of June,” the spokesman said, referring to the EU treaty rule that regulates the exit of a member state from the bloc.

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The spokesman noted that this did not mean there will be a delay in Brexit talks, “because negotiations were meant to start in June regardless of the UK government’s decision to call an election on the 8th.”.

Britain formally triggered the two-year Brexit process on March 29. The leaders of the 27 remaining EU countries will meet on April 29 to agree the bloc’s negotiating position, which will then be translated into a legal text by the EU commission in May.

The Commission will not interfere with the possible British elections because they are “a domestic issue,” the spokesman said.

He said that the future location of the European Banking Authority (EBA) and the European Medicines Agency (EMA), the two EU bodies based in London, will not be part of the Brexit talks.

The remark came in reaction to a statement of a spokeswoman for the British Brexit department who said on Monday that the location of the agencies had not been decided yet and would be “subject to the exit negotiations”.

The commission spokesman said that European agencies “must be based on the territory of the European Union,” and the decision on the new location of the two London-based bodies will be made by the 27 remaining EU states.

“It is not part of the Brexit negotiations. It’s rather a consequence of Brexit,” the spokesman said. “The UK will have no say on the location of the EU agencies,” he added.

Alexa Stewart