angela merkel.jpg
Photograph: EPA/SVEN HOPPE

Berlin (dpa) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel said discussions about the future of the European Union should take place "in a calm manner" and include Britain, even if voters there choose to leave the bloc.

"Overall, I think consultations must continue with all 28 [member states] if possible," said Merkel, who has repeatedly expressed support for Britain choosing to remain in the union.

"We will discuss together, and in a calm manner, how we can continue to implement our agenda" at an EU summit scheduled to take place from Tuesday, she said during a press conference in Berlin.

Germany's top leaders have largely refrained from campaigning in the run-up to Thursday's in-out referendum for fear it will be interpreted by the British electorate as EU interventionism.

Speaking at a university in Sofia, Bulgaria, German President Joachim Gauck said that the Brexit debate had shown how many Europeans feel uncomfortable with the notion of an ever closer union and that politicians "shouldn't overdo it."

"I do not believe, however, that we are facing the disintegration of Europe," he said.

Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble earlier this month ruled out the possibility that Britain can follow a Swiss or Norwegian model that would allow it to enjoy the benefits of the single market without being a member of the EU.

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