BERLIN (Reuters) - Chancellor Angela Merkel on Tuesday underscored Germany's determination to both maintain close ties with Britain and work to strengthen the European Union after last week's historic UK vote to leave the bloc.
"We sense how critical is that all the remaining 27 countries in the European Union demonstrate that we are willing and capable of taking the right steps forward," Merkel told the German parliament.
She welcomed all proposals that helped strengthen the EU, but said it crucial to avoid any measures that could encourage other countries to leave and said there could be no "cherry-picking" by London in its forthcoming negotiations.
Merkel said it was up to Britain to initiate next steps to leave the EU before any informal or formal negotiations about its future ties with the bloc could begin.
(Reporting by Andrea Shalal and Michelle Martin; Editing by Madeline Chambers)