Mrs Merkel insisted she was not “frustrated” by the lack of detail in the UK’s position on the future relationship it wants with the European Union but wanted to know more about Mrs May’s plan.
The Prime Minister, speaking alongside the German leader following talks in Berlin, said she wanted a “bold and ambitious partnership”, but it was not a “one-way street” as EU firms also stood to benefit.
But Mrs Merkel – who said Germany “deplored” the UK’s decision to leave the EU – insisted that there could still be a close relationship and “this does not mean that it needs to be cherry-picking”.
Mrs Merkel said: “We basically have not changed our stance on Britain leaving the European Union.”
She added that the Brexit deal needed to strike a “fair balance” but would be different to the full benefits of membership of the single market, something remaining EU members would assess.
Mrs May, who will speak in Munich on Saturday about her plans for a close security relationship with the EU after Brexit, said the government would set out more about its plans for the economic partnership “in the coming weeks”.