New British Prime Minister Theresa May said she plans to hold "open and frank" talks on Britain's departure from the European Union, or Brexit, with the leaders of Germany and France, on her first overseas trip since taking office.

Speaking in parliament before flying to Berlin, May said she would "discuss how we implement the decision the British people took in the referendum," referring to a June 23 vote to leave the EU.

May was scheduled to meet German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin later Wednesday, before travelling to Paris on Thursday.

Merkel will welcome May with full military honours at the chancellery building in central Berlin before hosting a working dinner with the new British leader.

"I'm very clear Brexit means Brexit," she said when asked whether she will prioritize Britain remaining in the European single market during her negotiations.

"What we need to do in negotiating the deal is to ensure that we listen to what people have said about the need for controls on free movement, but we will also negotiate the right deal and the best deal for trade in goods and services for the British people," May said.

She said the vote for Brexit had "sent a very clear message about immigration" and her government remains committed to reducing net migration to "sustainable levels," eventually to below 100,000 annually.

May and her Polish counterpart Beata Szydlo spoke by telephone on Tuesday evening about the hundreds of thousands of Poles who live and work in Britain, which was one of the few EU countries to fully open its labour market to the Eastern European countries that joined the bloc in 2004.

It is important that London preserves the free movement of people and protects the interests of Polish citizens living in Britain after Brexit, Szydlo told May, according to a statement from her office.

"I am determined that Britain will make a success of leaving the European Union and that's why I have decided to visit Berlin and Paris so soon after taking office," May said in an earlier statement.

May's office said she was expected to tell Merkel and Hollande that it will "take some time to prepare" for triggering Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, which sets the rules for a two-year negotiating process for a nation leaving the EU.

Merkel and many British and EU politicians have urged London to hasten its move to end its more than 40-year EU membership so as to minimize the uncertainty caused by last month's vote. But May has said she will not trigger Article 50 before the start of 2017.

"I do not underestimate the challenge of negotiating our exit from the European Union and I firmly believe that being able to talk frankly and openly about the issues we face will be an important part of a successful negotiation," she said.

May said she wants to deliver to Merkel and Hollande "a very clear message about the importance we attach to our bilateral relationship with our European partners, not just now but also when we have left the European Union."

Related stories

Latest news

Syrian opposition rules out future role for President al-Assad

The Syrian opposition said Friday it would not accept any role for President Bashar al-Assad in the future of the war-torn country, reacting to a recent US shift saying that removing al-Assad is no longer a priority for Washington.

Russian Army integrates breakaway forces of Georgian province

Parts of the small fighting forces of the Georgian breakaway province of South Ossetia have been placed under Russian military control, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Friday.

Czech Republic's Pilsner Urquell beer is now Japanese

Japanese brewing company Asahi completed its takeover of the Czech brewery Pilsner Urquell on Friday, Asahi said in a statement.

Judge approves 25-million-dollar settlement of Trump University case

A US district judge on Friday approved a 25-million-dollar settlement of lawsuits and state fraud allegations against Trump University, the US president's now-defunct business venture.

Former Thai premier Thaksin to junta on reconciliation: 'Cut me out'

Former Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra on Friday announced that he is not interested in the junta-led reconciliation process, three days after the junta handed him a half-a-billion-dollar tax bill for his past business deal.

Dalic: We welcome possible deal between Agrokor and banks

The government welcomes the possibility of an agreement being concluded between the Agrokor food company and creditor banks, and the bill on vitally important companies is not a fallback plan but the result of the government's care for the overall economic and financial stability of Croatia, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy Martina Dalic told a press conference in Zagreb on Friday.

Croatia, China sign action plan for cooperation in agriculture

The Croatian and Chinese ministries of agriculture on Friday signed an action plan for cooperation in the field of agriculture for the period 2017-2018, the Croatian ministry said in a statement.

ZSE indices up, Agrokor shares in focus of investor interest

The Zagreb Stock Exchange (ZSE) indices on Friday rose by more than 1.8%, with stocks of the Agrokor food and retail concern being in the focus of investor interest again.

Berlin police defend handling of Berlin market attacker

Berlin police defended themselves on Friday against accusations that they stopped surveillance on Berlin Christmas market attacker despite knowing in June 2016 he was dangerous.

Croatia, creditors tailor emergency measures to save tottering giant

Croatia's tottering retail and food giant Agrokor reached an agreement with its creditors, putting its debts standby and allowing it to continue working during emergency restructuring, the Croatian branch of Austria's Erste Bank said Friday.

Agrokor's creditors say standstill agreement to go into force today

A standstill agreement regarding the Agrokor concern's existing financial obligations to banks will take effect on Friday, additional capital will be injected into the concern in the coming days and the concern will be actively restructured, which includes a change of its management, it was said on Friday after a meeting between Agrokor's suppliers and creditor banks.

Palestinians, UN slam Israel's new settlement plan

Palestinians, Israeli activists and the UN lambasted the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday, a day after it gave the go-ahead for the first new West Bank settlement in a quarter of a century.

South Sudan rebels release three abducted foreign oil workers

South Sudanese rebels have released three foreign engineers they abducted in early March in the oil-rich Upper Nile region, Foreign Affairs Ministry official Mawein Makol Arik said on Friday.

Turkish opposition: Imprisoned party chief has gone on hunger strike

The head of Turkey's pro-Kurdish opposition party has launched a hunger strike from prison.

European leagues threaten Champions League schedule clashes

The European Professional Football Leagues (EPFL) on Friday threatened schedule clashes on Champions League matchdays in an ongoing dispute with the governing body UEFA.

Danish court revokes citizenship of IS volunteer

A Danish appellate court on Friday stripped a man of his Danish citizenship for volunteering to fight for the extremist Islamic State in Syria.

Banks and Agrokor agree on key elements of standstill agreement

Member banks of the coordinating committee of financial creditors and representatives of the Agrokor food company have in principle agreed on key elements of a standstill agreement, which is expected to be signed later today, announcing changes in the company's management team, Erste Bank said in a statement on Friday afternoon.

Syrian man on trial in Sweden; mosque attack labelled terrorism

A Syrian man went on trial Friday in the southern Swedish city of Malmo, charged with terrorism and arson after an attack last year on a building used as an assembly hall by Shiite Muslims.