Although Article 50 was officially triggered last month, the serious business of full-blown Brexit negotiations may not start for another eight months as key players France and Germany are more focused on their own elections.
Alex de Ruyter, director of the Centre for Brexit Studies at Birmingham City University said: “With the impending French presidential elections and the German federal elections coming up over the next few months, it is likely no real discussions over Britain’s withdrawal from the EU will take place until after November this year.”
While Germany goes to the polls on September 24, it is unlikely any stable government will be formed until weeks later when a coalition is agreed, as no single party has won a parliamentary majority since the end of World War Two.
Theresa May (L) met with European Council President Donald Tusk on April 6
The average time it has taken from an actual election until a new government has been sworn in since reunification in 1990 is a month and a half, research has shown.
The fastest time a German government has been formed were ones led by Gerhard Schroeder in 1998 and 2002, which took 30 days each.
That would be if everything went smoothly and it would appear Germany’s upcoming election this year could be especially problematic with possibly six parties all having a potential stake.
In pictures: Theresa May meets with EU's Tusk Thu, April 6, 2017
The two leaders held talks on Brexit negotiations
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European Council President Donald Tusk gestures to members of the media as he leaves 10 Downing street after talks with British Prime Minister Theresa May in central London
With the impending French presidential elections and the German federal elections coming up over the next few months, it is likely that no real discussions over Britain’s withdrawal from the EU will take place until after November this year
Alex de Ruyter, Director of the Centre for Brexit Studies at Birmingham City University
The anti-immigration party Alternative for Germany (AfD) is expected to win seats for the first time while the Free Democrats are also tipped to make a return to the Bundestag.
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On top of that neither of the two main parties have a clear lead with Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) mostly neck-and-neck with the Social Democratic Party (SPD) led by Martin Schulz.
While any coalition is dependent on the actual results of the election in September there are any number of possible coalitions.
European Council President Donald Tusk outside Downing Street
The most likely, according to observers, is a return of Mrs Merkel’s “grand coalition” of the CDU, the Christian Social Union (CSU) and the SPD although this could be headed by Mr Schulz rather than the current Chancellor.
However Mr Schulz could try to ditch the status quo and attempt an alliance with the anti-capitalist Left.
Another likely possibility is that Mrs Merkel could drop the SPD and try to form a government with the Free Democrats and the Greens.
Donald Tusk (L) met with Theresa May (R) earlier this month in London
The delays would also push back the starting date of any trade discussions over a new agreement.
European Union President Donald Tusk said any trade talks could only start when “sufficient progress” had been made in talks over leaving the bloc.
Officially, formal talks could begin at any time after April 29, once the European Council has agreed a mandate and issued official guidelines.
Brexit Secretary David Davis with the German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel
Under the EU’s terms a country is given two years to finalise an exit agreement although negotiations only last 18 months at most due to the need for any deal to be ratified.
When contacted by Express.co.uk, spokesmen for both the European Council and the Department for Exiting the EU dismissed November as a likely starting date for talks as “likely speculation”.