European politicians hope for softer Brexit following the UK's General Election result

 
Helen Cahill
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The negotiations start in just over a week (Source: Getty)

European politicians are hoping that the UK's General Election result will lead to a softer Brexit.

As the result became clear on Friday, EU leaders were quick to express the urgency of the upcoming Brexit negotiations. European Council president Donald Tusk tweeted that there was "no time to lose".

And, politicians on the continent appear convinced that Prime Minister Theresa May's weakened position after the election means she will be forced to change direction on Brexit. She had previously signalled that she intended to take Britain out of the single market so that she would be able to take more control of immigration.

Read more: Could the General Election results lead to a Brexit "no deal"?

The EU's budget commissioner Guenther Oettinger told German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine that it has now become possible to "talk about closer relations between the UK and the European Union than Mrs May had originally planned".

He added: "If, for example, London were to remain in a customs union, it would not have to renegotiate all trade agreements. That would greatly relieve the government."

And, Gunther Krichbaum, chairman of the European Committee in the German government, said that with the vote "the British people have clearly expressed their opposition to Theresa May's confrontational approach to the European Union."

Read more: Ruth Davidson: Tories must look again at plans for Brexit

"I sincerely hope that London is now opening up its negotiating position," he said.

The negotiations are set to start in just over a week, but it is not clear whether May will be changing her stance on Brexit.

Meanwhile, Michel Barnier, the EU's Brexit negotiator, tweeted on Friday that the "timetable and EU positions are clear".

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