Home secretary Amber Rudd has sought to reassure Europe that the UK can be depended on after Brexit, insisting that Britain wants to maintain a "deep and special partnership" with the European Union afterwards.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said over the weekend that Europe must "fight for its own destiny", and that the days it could "completely depend on others" were somewhat over.
"Of course we need to have friendly relations with the US and with the UK and with other neighbours, including Russia," Merkel said at an election rally in Europe, but added, "we have to fight for our own future ourselves".
Speaking on BBC Radio 4's Today programme, Rudd said today: "As we begin the negotiations about leaving the EU, we will be able to reassure Germany and other European countries that we are going to be a strong partner to them in defence and security, and, we hope, in trade."
"This is going to be the most important negotiation that this country has embarked on for many decades. Making sure that we get this right is going to be absolutely critical, and we don't underestimate the difficulty," Rudd added.
We can reassure Mrs Merkel that we want to have a deep and special partnership so that we can continue to maintain European-wide security to keep us all safe from the terrorists abroad and those that are trying to be nurtured in our country.
Merkel aired her views following a G7 summit last week where US President Donald Trump refused to recommit his country to the Paris agreement on climate change. He has said he will make a decision on whether to withdraw or not this week.
I will make my final decision on the Paris Accord next week!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 27, 2017
"The times in which we could completely depend on others are on the way out," Merkel said. "I've experienced that in the last few days."
Merkel also said that the relationship between Berlin and new French President Emmanuel Macron must be a priority going forwards.
The centrist candidate won 66 per cent of the vote in the second round of the Presidential election earlier this month, against far-right National Front candidate Marine Le Pen’s 34 per cent.