BRUSSELS – European Union leaders agreed to grant British Prime Minister Theresa May a new Brexit deadline of Oct. 31, diplomats told Reuters after French President Emmanuel Macron opposed summit efforts to give her another year.
Summit chair Donald Tusk tweeted that an extension had been agreed to but gave no details as he went to brief May on the outcome and seek her necessary agreement to the deal.
The late-night deal means Britain will not crash out of the bloc on Friday and gives May more than the three months she had asked for to build a parliamentary majority behind the withdrawal treaty she negotiated with the EU last year.
But Macron’s push for a June Brexit and strong opposition to other leaders’ preference for a much longer extension that might increase the chances of Britain changing its mind to stay in the bloc meant the meeting ended up with the October compromise.
Oct. 31 would correspond to the end of the five-year mandate of the present EU executive commission.
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