February 20, 2019 / 10:03 AM / a month ago

Britain has until mid-March to seal Brexit deal - EU diplomats

An EU flag flutters next to the statue of Winston Churchill outside the Houses of Parliament, ahead of a vote on Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit deal, in London, Britain January 15, 2019. REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Britain has until mid-March to seal a deal with the European Union, diplomatic sources in the bloc said, or it would otherwise be too late for the gathering of 28 national leaders later that month to approve it before Brexit day on March 29.

“They have until March 10, maybe March 15 at the latest,” one EU diplomat said, stressing the bloc needed time to prepare approval at the leaders’ summit due March 21-22.

“Otherwise they will be forced into a delay of Brexit, or crash out.”

Another diplomat dealing with Brexit in the EU’s political hub Brussels also said mid-March was an effective deadline for getting an agreement, should there be one before Brexit in 37 days.

Reporting by Gabriela Baczynska

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