June 9, 2017 / 9:15 AM / a month ago

EU's Tusk warns Britain Brexit time tight, risk of no deal

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Donald Tusk, the President of the European Council, leaves after meeting Britain's Prime Minister, Theresa May inside 10 Downing Street, in central London, Britain April 6, 2017.Hannah McKay/Files

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - European Council President Donald Tusk, who will oversee EU negotiations on Britain's withdrawal, warned on Friday that London faces a firm deadline to complete talks and that delays in starting them raise the risk of failing to reach a deal.

"We don't know when Brexit talks start. We know when they must end," Tusk tweeted after the loss of her majority in a snap election put in doubt whether British Prime Minister Theresa May will be able to start Brexit negotiations as planned on June 19.

"Do your best to avoid a 'no deal' as result of 'no negotiations'."

In March, May bound Britain to leaving the EU, with or without a deal to settle legal uncertainties for people and businesses, on March 30, 2019. EU officials say time is very tight to negotiate such a divorce and have been concerned at May's threats to prefer "no deal" to a "bad deal". Such an outcome would be damaging to both sides, EU officials say.

Reporting by Alastair Macdonald; @macdonaldrtr; editing by Philip Blenkinsop

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