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Europe welcomes UK snap elections ahead of tough Brexit negotiations

European officials have indicated a desire that the upcoming snap election in Britain will lead to a "strong" leadership in Westminster and bring more clarity to current Brexit negotiations.

Capitals across Europe have been left surprised with the announcement by U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May on Tuesday, who called for an early election on June 8, but officials do not foresee any impact on the U.K.'s process to leave the European Union.

One EU official, speaking on the condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the Brexit process, told CNBC Wednesday that May's announcement "does not change things". "This is a domestic matter for the UK. But we have some hope that this will lead to a strong leader in London that can negotiate with us with strong backing by the electorate," the official said.

The EU is "ready" to discuss the details but due to the several steps in EU lawmaking its timetable points to sit-down talks in June, independently of the British vote.

"The U.K. elections do no change our EU27 (remaining members of the EU) plans. We expect to have the Brexit guidelines adopted by the European Council on April 29 and following that the Brexit negotiating directives ready on May 22. This will allow the EU27 to start negotiations," a spokesperson for the European Council said Tuesday.

Guy Verhofstadt, the European Parliament representative in the Brexit talks, said on Facebook the election is an "opportunity for the U.K. citizens to express themselves on how they see the future relationship between their country and the EU."

"As the European Parliament Brexit negotiator, I will work with a new government for the best common future possible," he added.

Meanwhile, President of the European Council Donald Tusk, who chairs European summits, was a little more mysterious with his approach.

"It was (Alfred) Hitchcock, who directed Brexit: first an earthquake and the tension rises," he said on Twitter, hinting that the momentum is building in the Brexit process.

May has often been criticized in Brussels for not having a detailed plan for Brexit. "Hopefully, the new election announced today by Prime Minister May can lead to more clarity and predictability in the negotiations with the European Union," German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel told the German press.

May was the on cover of numerous newspapers across Europe on Wednesday morning. The Spanish press was undoubtedly the most focused on the issue. The first war of words in the Brexit process happened a couple of weeks ago between the U.K. and Spain over the sovereignty of Gibraltar, a British overseas territory on the southern tip of the Spanish coast.

The EU stated in draft guidelines any new agreement with the U.K. that applies to Gibraltar will need to be approved by Spain. The sovereignty of Gibraltar has been a contentious issue between the U.K. and Spain for centuries. The territory is self-governed in all matters excluding foreign policy and defense, which are decided in the U.K.

On Wednesday, the Spanish press said May's announcement was a move to protect herself ahead of "tough" Brexit talks.

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