EU offers Brexit delay until May 22: Draft statement

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The European Union will agree to hand Britain a Brexit delay until May 22 if its parliament approves the divorce agreement next week, according to draft conclusions considered by the other 27 national leaders on Thursday.

“The European Union commits to agreeing, before March 29, 2019, to an extension until May 22, provided the Withdrawal Agreement is approved by the House of Commons next week,” said the draft, seen by Reuters.

“Given that the United Kingdom does not intend to hold elections to the European Parliament, no extension is possible beyond that date.”

Just eight days before Britain is scheduled to leave the EU, British Prime Minister Theresa May appealed to her fellow EU leaders meeting in Brussels on Thursday to hand her a postponement until June 30.

“The European Council reiterates that there can be no opening of the Withdrawal Agreement (...) any unilateral commitment, statement or other act should be compatible with the letter and the spirit of the Withdrawal Agreement,” it said.

The EU, in a text that was still being discussed by the leaders without May and could change, stressed that there should be continued preparations for a no-deal Brexit.

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