Britain won't get to "cherry-pick" the parts of EU membership it wants to keep, German Chancellor Angela Merkel warned Tuesday, in the wake of last week's British vote to leave the bloc.

Thursday's referendum, in which almost 52 per cent of voters opted for a so-called Brexit, puts one of the European Union's top three economies on the unprecedented track of leaving. It has triggered political disarray in Britain and sent shock waves across the EU.

"Whoever leaves the family can't expect the same privileges as it had before without also having the obligations," Merkel said at a special meeting Tuesday at the Bundestag, or German parliament.

She reiterated that there would be no discussions with Britain, formally or informally, on the framework for leaving the EU until London officially invokes the relevant clause for a member country to leave.

Britain's European partners have been calling for London to invoke Article 50 of the bloc's treaty as soon as possible, after British Prime Minister Cameron said he would leave this to his successor - who is not due to be selected before September.

Markets have been spooked by the Brexit vote, with the British pound plummeting to levels not seen since 1985. The decision also spells uncertainty for businesses and citizens across Britain and the EU.

"I would like the United Kingdom to clarify its position, not today, not tomorrow at 9 am, but quickly," European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker told EU lawmakers on Tuesday.

"We cannot find ourselves in a period of prolonged uncertainty," he added.

Juncker said he has issued a presidential order banning all EU commissioners from discussing Brexit with London officials for the time being, to avoid any "secret negotiations in dark rooms, with curtains drawn," taking place.

Article 50 sets the clock ticking on a two-year window to reach an exit agreement, with discussions on Britain's future relationship with the EU likely to take place in parallel.

Merkel underscored Britain's continued importance as a partner, but left it up to London to take the lead on what relationship it wants with the EU after the divorce goes through.

The approach needs to be "grown-up and sensible," Nigel Farage, the leader of the UK Independence Party and a key Leave campaigner, told fellow EU lawmakers on Tuesday.

"Let's cut between us a sensible tariff-free deal and thereafter recognize that the UK will be your friend, that we will trade with you, we will cooperate with you, we will be your best friends in the world," Farage added.

Later Tuesday, Cameron will meet his 27 EU counterparts for the first time since the referendum at a Brussels summit, with discussions expected to focus on the next steps.

Cameron is due to brief his colleagues over dinner about the vote and its repercussions in Britain.

On Wednesday, the other EU leaders will hold informal talks without him to seek a common position on Brexit and launch a discussion on strengthening their bloc.

Merkel said she would use all her strength to help the EU avoid further cracks in its unity and to push for a "more successful Europe."

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.