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EU spokesman rejects British PM's claim of election meddling

EU spokesman rejects British PM's claim of election meddling

European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker's chief spokesman dismissed May's comments as electioneering.

The Frankfurter Allgemeine report claims Mr Juncker told Mrs May he left their Downing Street dinner "10 times more sceptical" a Brexit deal could be achieved.

The defense secretary's statement came mere hours after Brexit Secretary David Davis argued a "line was crossed" by Europe when it suggested Britain could be made to pay a €100 billion (£84.5 billion/US$110 billion) "exit bill". "Rather, we are happy that at the start of this process there will be a stable government with a mandate to resolve this problem", Tajani said.

Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood said she thought it was more to do with the election, while UK Independence Party leader Paul Nuttall said it was because the rest of the European Union was terrified other countries would leave.

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German magazine Der Spiegel reported that an angry Chancellor Angela Merkel was "sour" with Mr Juncker over the leak, which she felt had "heated up" the situation in an unhelpful way.

"Our British friends have chose to leave, which is a tragedy", the former Luxembourg Prime Minister told the European University Institute's State of the Union conference.

May used an extraordinary press conference outside Downing Street on Wednesday to accuse Brussels of trying to influence next month's general election with "threats against Britain" over Brexit talks. We must keep in mind that in order to succeed, today we need discretion, moderation, mutual respect and a maximum of good will'.

Yesterday, Mrs May said there were some in Brussels who did not want to see Brexit talks proceed.

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"This is not a helpful situation but, be that as it may, it's happened ... the issues that concern the European Union, of which we are a member, will not change", he said after talks with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

The EU lists another priority as keeping people and goods moving smoothly across the border between Northern Ireland, which is part of the United Kingdom, and EU member Ireland.

Mr Juncker delivered his address in French, joking: "I will express myself in French because, slowly but surely, English is losing importance in Europe". Britain's payments to the bloc before considering a new trade deal are likely to fester as the contentious issue in its dealings with Europe over the next two years.

"If we don't get the negotiation right, if we let the bureaucrats of Brussels run over us, we will lose the chance to build a fairer society with real opportunity for all".

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On Wednesday, the USA banking giant JP Morgan became the latest worldwide financial company to say it would be moving some staff ahead of Britain's formal exit from the EU.