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EU agrees to delay Brexit until Jan. 31

AP


The European Council president says the bloc has agreed to grant Britain a new Brexit delay to Jan. 31 next year.

Donald Tusk said on Twitter “the EU 27 has agreed that it will accept the UK’s request for a Brexit flextension.

The decision is expected to be formalized through a written procedure.”

Tusk’s announcement came as European Union diplomats met in Brussels to sign off on the new delay to Britain’s departure from the bloc, which had been due in just three days on Oct. 31.

It’s the second time the Brexit deadline has been changed since the 2016 referendum on Britain’s departure from the EU.

The French minister for European Affairs says she does not know when Brexit will happen, and insists Britain can still backpedal on its decision to leave the bloc.

Speaking on France Info radio, Amelie de Montchalin said it’s still possible for Britain to revoke Article 50, meaning the U.K. would remain in the EU and cancel Brexit.

Montchalin said “the prime minister can pick up his phone and call Brussels to say: “I stop everything.”

Montchalin added, however, that she believes it’s important to respect the “British people’s sovereign desire” expressed in the 2016 referendum on leaving the EU.

She spoke as ambassadors for the EU27 meet in Brussels on Monday to decide on a new Brexit delay. She said ambassadors will discuss the possibility of granting another extension to Jan. 31, 2020.

France was initially reluctant to extend the Brexit deadline beyond its scheduled date of Oct. 31, but Montchalin said the perspective of a new general election in Britain justifies a new delay.