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UK's stance incompatible with smooth Brexit: Eurogroup head


BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The British government's attitude towards impending talks to leave the European Union suggests that Britain's exit will not be smooth and orderly, the head of the group of euro zone finance ministers said on Tuesday.

Businesses, investors and opposition lawmakers in Britain say the government should clarify its negotiating position as ministers have made contradictory statements on key issues such as access to the single market.

"It can be smooth and it can be orderly but I think it requires a different attitude on the part of the British government because the things that I've been hearing so far are incompatible with smooth, incompatible with orderly," Eurogroup chairman Jeroen Dijsselbloem told reporters.

Dijsselbloem, who is the finance minister of the Netherlands, also said Britain appeared to want the EU's benefits with none of its obligations.


"If the UK wants to have full access to the internal market then it will have to accept the rules and regulations that go with that internal market," he said, before a meeting of EU finance ministers including British Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond.

Asked whether Britain was seeking to "have its cake and eat it", Dijsselbloem responded: "I was going to stay away from that cliché, but you are absolutely right."

The government is also involved in a Supreme Court battle over who can trigger the formal exit process, seeking to overturn a legal ruling that could derail its Brexit strategy. May has said she plans to trigger the procedure by the end of March.

(Reporting By Philip Blenkinsop; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)