Stefan Auer from the University of Hong Kong told CNBC that Theresa May’s setback in the General Election may have weakened the UK’s position but that did not give the EU an extra edge as negotiations start.
The prof said: “Official negations are starting and the British position seems to be weakened.
“The UK has had a terrible two weeks, two months, whatever you want to say, but we shouldn’t forget that the EU still faces significant problems.
“Over the next two years, I believe it will be much harder for the EU to maintain a unified position than whatever government the UK will get.
“So the elections were terrible for Theresa May, but I don’t think that the fundamental dynamics of the Brexit negotiations is going to change because of that.”
Prof Auer argued there are serious divisions within the European Union and member states would soon rediscover their differences.
He said: “There are serious divisions in Europe on key questions of migration, economic policies, divisions between new members states of the EU who oppose migration.
“There are decisions over the strategy to solve the eurozone crisis, but all these divisions now are being overshadowed by the fact that we have had quite a few positive developments.
“Victory of [Emmanuel] Macron seems to promise the possibility of the Franco-German engine to be started, but this is way before any serious negotiation about the future of the EU has started.
“I think the divides between France and Germany will remain on key questions of economic policies.”
David Davis arrived in Brussels on Monday to start the official Brexit talks with the EU.
After welcoming Mr Davis with warm words, EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier, said: “Today we are launching the negotiations on the orderly withdrawal of the UK from the EU.
“Our objective is clear, we must first tackle the uncertainties caused by Brexit. First for citizens, but also for the beneficiaries of the EU policies and for the impact on borders, in particular, Ireland.
“I hope that today we can identify priorities and a timetable that would allow me to report to the European Council later this week that we had a constructive opening of negotiations.”
To which Mr David responded: “Thank you very much for that kind introduction. I’m here in Brussels today like Michel to begin the next phase of our work to build a new deep and special partnership with the EU.
“It’s at testing times like these that we’re reminded of the values and resolve that we share with our closest allies in Europe.
“There’s more that unites us than divides us, so while there will undoubtedly be challenging times ahead of us in the negotiations we’ll do all we can to ensure we deliver a deal that works in the best interests of all citizens.
“To that end we’re starting these negotiations in a positive and constructive tone determined to build a strong and special partnership between ourselves and our European allies for the future.”
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