Angela Merkel vows to use 'all her strength' to keep EU united

Angela Merkel vows to use 'all her strength' to keep EU united

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said she will use "all her strength" to prevent the European Union drifting apart in the wake of Britain's decision to leave the bloc.

In an address to the German parliament before she headed to Brussels to meet with other leaders, Ms Merkel said she expects Britain will want to maintain "close relations" with the EU once it leaves, but she also signalled that it could not expect a business-as-usual approach.

"Whoever wants to leave this family cannot expect to have no more obligations but to keep privileges," she said.

Ms Merkel also reiterated that there can be no talks with Britain on leaving the EU until it starts the formal procedure to leave.

EU Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker has said he is banning any informal and secretive negotiations on Brexit before the UK invokes Article 50 of the EU treaty.

He told a special session of the European Parliament that "I want the UK to clarify its position, not today, not tomorrow at 9am, but soon. We cannot allow ourselves to remain in a prolonged period of uncertainty".

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