The European Union is willing to delay Brexit well into the second half of 2019, diplomats said, as governments examine ways of preventing the U.K. crashing out of the bloc without a deal.

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The EU is likely to approve any U.K. request to extend the Article 50 negotiation period beyond March 29 and the extension could go well beyond the first sitting of a newly elected European Parliament at the start of July, three diplomats said, as reported by Bloomberg.

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However, there isn't complete agreement among EU member states, with some thinking the best strategy is still to insist that the U.K. leaves on the original date, or with only an extension of a few weeks to enable the British Parliament to pass necessary legislation, a fourth diplomat said. Approval for a delay needs the unanimous support of all 27 remaining EU governments.

Prime Minister Theresa May said on Wednesday that it was still her plan to leave the EU on March 29 but didn't rule out a possible extension.