Angela Merkel has urged Britain to confirm the type of relationship it plans to have with the European Union following its exit. Speaking at an annual diplomatic corps reception in Meseberg on 11 July, the German chancellor pointed out that it would not be possible for Britain to have access to the EU's single market while restricting immigration.

Merkel said that although she was hopeful Britain would remain an important partner, it was imperative that London state the terms under which the revised partnership will be made. "But of course the EU and the remaining 27 member states also have to protect their interests," she said according to Reuters.

"For example, whoever would like to have free access to the European internal market will also have to accept all basic freedoms in return, including the free movement of people," she explained.

Merkel's statements came hours before Theresa May was confirmed to become UK's next prime minister and she said that Britain will only take its next official step once "they have a new prime minister to invoke Article 50".

In an interview with ZDF TV on 10 July, the German leader stressed, "I expect that to happen. I deal with reality and I firmly expect that application will be made. We have spoken to Britain and made clear there will be no negotiations with Britain until they have made their application, and there will be no cherry picking."

Following May's appointment, other ministers of the EU also reiterated the need to clarify the future with Britain.

"The sooner we can sort out this - how can I say it diplomatically - problematic situation, the better," BBC quoted Jeroen Dijsselbloem, Dutch finance minister and head of the Eurozone group as saying.

Pierre Moscovici, the European Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs added, "We should enter negotiations as quickly as possible because we need to limit uncertainty."

Angela Merkel
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that Britain needs to confirm Article50 to move ahead with talksJOHN MACDOUGALL/AFP/Getty Images