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Britain will not leave the E.U. next week after European leaders allow a short Brexit reprieve


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Michael Birnbaum , William Booth and Quentin Ariès

Mar. 21 2109

BRUSSELS — European leaders on Thursday seized control of Britain’s break with the European Union, sparing British Prime Minister Theresa May the economic earthquake of an uncontrolled departure from the bloc next week but demanding that she pass a deal or come up with an alternative by April 12.

The decision was a harsh verdict on May’s political acumen. Withering cross-examination led her fellow leaders to believe she had no political strategy to pass a divorce deal nor knew how Britain would weather an uncontrolled Brexit next Friday.

May had promised the British people that Brexit would help them take back control from Europe. Instead, she found that her 27 fellow E.U. leaders took back decision-making from her, dictating a political calendar for the coming weeks that gives both sides time to prepare for the worst-case scenario.

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