MESEBERG, Germany, June 14 (Reuters) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Wednesday the European Union was ready to start negotiating with Britain about its exit from the EU on June 19, as planned, saying she assumed that the talks would proceed despite last week’s parliamentary election in Britain.
“We’re ready on the European side. We’ll see about the rest,” Merkel told reporters after a meeting with top government officials, unions and business leaders in Meseberg, a town in eastern Germany.
She declined to speculate about any change in Britain’s plans to withdraw from the EU following the election, saying, “The citizens have decided, and I assume that we will have to carry out these negotiations.”
Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel, echoing remarks by French President Emmanuel Macron, said the door to Europe remained open to Britain, and it was up to the British people whether they wanted to change their minds about leaving the EU.
“We all have an interest ... in keeping them as close as possible to the European Union,” he said. (Reporting by Andrea Shalal and Reuters TV, editing by Larry King)