As leader of Europe's most powerful nation Germany, Merkel is expected to be influential over the tone of talks with Britain when its negotiations over a Brexit take place. U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron resigned following the June 23 referendum when 52 percent of voters opted to leave the economic and political bloc.
The vote caused turmoil in financial markets as well as the U.K.'s political establishment with a leadership race now underway to find the next leader of the ruling Conservative party and next prime minister. Two women are in the running for the position, Home Secretary Theresa May and Energy Minister Andrea Leadsom, and whoever wins will have the difficult task of overseeing potentially awkward Brexit talks.
Problematically, the U.K. would like to maintain its lucrative access to the EU's single market and 500 million consumers but to do so must accept the EU's founding principles, known as the "four freedoms," that guarantee the free movement of goods, capital, services, and people. The latter freedom is a sore point for a portion of the population who voted for Brexit in order to limit immigration, however.
There is also the so-called "Norway option." Norway is not a member of the EU but is a member of the European Economic Area (EEA) which gives it access to the single market. Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg told CNBC that Norway has had to accept the EU's rules, however.
"I think the Norway option is the best for Norway," Solberg told CNBC on the sidelines of the NATO summit over the weekend.
"And I think for small countries it is a good agreement. I doubt that those who were arguing for leave will be satisfied with the fact that we have the four freedoms - we are, we are fully members of Schengen (a passport-free movement agreement), and we are in fact in some areas more integrated with the EU structures than Britain was before, especially on the Schengen part. But I think it's up to the Brits to decide what they want to opt for, what is the core elements that they would like to participate with, continue to work with the EU?," she said.
"If you want freedom of trade and services, people are moving with the services," she noted. "It might be possible to have an arrangement where you can access parts of that market, but can you have it all? I think it's going to be difficult especially on the services side which Britain is big on. It's a big country when delivering services. But that's up to the Brits to decide what they want and of course the negotiation with the EU."