EU leaders agree to Brexit extension: Tusk

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EU leaders agree to Brexit extension: Tusk

Leaders of the 27 countries remaining in the European Union and British Prime Minister Theresa May have agreed to extend Brexit until October 31.

At an emergency meeting in Brussels on Wednesday, the EU leaders agreed to offer May a six-month extension that was accepted by the British PM.

“EU27/UK have agreed a flexible extension until 31 October. This means additional six months for the UK to find the best possible solution,” European Council President Donald Tusk’s text read.

May had asked to postpone Britain’s departure – that was scheduled to take place on March 29 – from the EU until June 30.

Most EU leaders favoured a longer term, until year-end or later, according to EU sources. But French President Emmanuel Macron insisted Brexit must not threaten the functioning of the EU.

The extension is flexible, EU diplomats say, meaning Britain can leave once its Brexit divorce deal is ratified. However, if it stays beyond May 22, the country will likely be required to participate in EU elections.

“Please don’t waste this time,” Tusk told a news conference after eight hours of EU leaders’ talks on the matter.

He said Britain still had all the options on Brexit available during the extension, from approving the stalled divorce deal, to changing its leave strategy to cancelling the departure altogether.

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