Merkel said that she “of course respects the decision” of May, adding that they had always worked well together.
Merkel called Britain's looming departure from the European Union a “deep rupture” and said Berlin would “continue to make every effort to ensure that there is a good partnership with Great Britain, an orderly withdrawal and further good cooperation”.
An “orderly” Brexit would mean Britain departs under the divorce agreement with EU leaders inked in November, instead of under a no-deal scenario that risks economic chaos on both sides of the Channel.
Merkel's spokeswoman Martina Fietz earlier said that the chancellor would keep working with May in the same spirit as before as long as she is in office. Fietz declined to comment on how May's decision could affect Brexit, as “the development depends essentially on domestic political developments in Britain”.
May, who took charge in the aftermath of the 2016 Brexit referendum, was forced to make way following a Conservative mutiny over her ill-fated strategy to end Britain's near five-decade membership of the European Union.