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EU Leaders, British PM Agree To Extend Brexit Deadline Until October 31


EU leaders at emergency Brexit summit in Brussels on April 10, 2019.

British Prime Minister Theresa May and European Union leaders have agreed to extend the deadline of Brexit until October 31 at a late-night emergency summit in Brussels.

European Council President Donald Tusk announced early on April 11 that May had agreed to the EU's conditions for the extension.

Tusk described the agreement as "a flexible extension," saying it means an "additional six months for the U.K. to find the best possible solution."

The EU summit conclusions say Britain must "refrain from any measure" that jeopardizes key EU projects -- a condition aimed at preventing Britain from exercising its veto power over initiatives in Brussels during the extension period.

EU leaders plan to meet again in June to evaluate the situation.

Britain could leave the EU before then if May builds a majority coalition in Britain's Parliament that supports the withdrawal agreement she negotiated with the EU in 2018.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said early on April 11 that Brexit without a withdrawal deal would be "a total disaster," and that Brussels will do all it can to avoid a no-deal scenario.

"We'll have a Brexit with a deal," Juncker said.

The summit was called in an attempt to keep Britain from crashing out of the EU on April 12 without any agreement after the British Parliament rejected May's deal three times.

May had asked for an extension until June 30 to try to build support for her agreement.

French President Emmanuel Macron pushed for the June 30 deadline, opposing attempts by Germany and other EU countries to offer a one-year extension.

That led to the October 31 compromise offer for Britain that was supported unanimously by all 27 other EU states.

Based on reporting by Reuters, AP, AFP, dpa, and BBC
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