LONDON, Jan. 17 (Xinhua) -- British Prime Minister Theresa May on Tuesday confirmed that Britain will leave the EU single market while insisting that it wants to remain "the best friend and neighbor" to European partners.
Speaking to an audience at Lancaster House, Westminster, including ambassadors from across the world, the prime minister used the speech to announce the Britain's 12 priorities for Brexit negotiations.
May said that she does not want an outcome that leaves Britain "half-in, half-out" of the European Union. Below are the highlights of May's speech:
A TRULY GLOBAL BRITAIN
In the beginning of her speech, May said she wants the United Kingdom to emerge from the period of change to become stronger, fairer, more united and more outward-looking than ever before.
"I want us to be a truly global Britain, the best friend and neighbour to our European partners, but a country that reaches beyond the borders of Europe too," she said.
LEAVE EUROPEAN SINGLE MARKET WHILE PURSUING GREATEST POSSIBLE ACCESS
May said Britain "cannot possibly" remain within the European single market, as staying in it would mean "not leaving the EU at all".
"Brexit cannot mean membership of the single market," she said. May promised to push for the "greatest possible" access to the single market following Brexit.
May said she wants a "bold and ambitious" trade arrangement with the EU.
TARIFF-FREE TRADE AND CUSTOMS AGREEMENTS WITH EUROPE
May said she wanted Britain to be able to negotiate its own trade agreements, as well as tariff-free trade with Europe and cross-border trade to be as friction-less as possible.
She also outlined the plan to have a customs agreement with the EU.
UK WILL NO LONGER CONTRIBUTE HUGE SUMS TO EU BUDGET
May said because Britain will no longer be members of the single market, it will no longer be required to contribute huge sums to the EU budget, except fot some specific EU programs.
"The days of Britain making vast contributions to the European Union will end," she said.
BREXIT MUST MEAN CONTROL OF IMMIGRATION FROM EUROPE
May said Brexit must mean control of the number of people who come to Britain from Europe, ensuring that the government can control immigration to Britain from Europe.
But she also stressed that Britain will not close the door to EU nationals.
"You will still be welcome in this country as we hope our citizens will be in yours," she said.