Afterward, the French president said that he had been satisfied with the outcome.
To be sure, the political price Britain would have to pay for any further recess would spike, the sources said, and it is by far not a foregone conclusion that all the 27 states staying on together after Brexit would endorse another extension.
"What's indispensable is that nothing should undermine the European job in the months ahead", he explained.
He said that the ball was now in London's court, but the withdrawal agreement between the European Union and the United Kingdom, earlier rejected by the British parliament three times, can not be renegotiated. Compared to some testy recent summits, there were signs of warmth, even comedy.
"We had a very intensive debate", was how German Chancellor Angela Merkel characterized the summit.
"I never wanted to seek this extension", May said.
French President Emmanuel Macron reportedly sought some specific assurances from May earlier this week if an extension was to be offered.
"The no-deal situation is a real option", said the official, who was not authorised to be publicly named according to presidential policy.
The conclusions of Monday's summit demanded "sincere cooperation" from Britain, meaning it will not spoil European Union decisions in the pre-Brexit period.
Mrs May also told MPs that backing her deal would mean there was no need for European Parliament elections.
"Everything goes more smoothly when France and Germany are aligned", an European Union source said. Maybe he fears that the European Parliament elections will show that France is more eurosceptic than Britain.
But U.K. lawmakers refused it three times. Since Britain's death date of March 29 approached without a settlement in sight, the European Union gave Britain before Friday to accept that a withdrawal plan, alter course and find a further delay to Brexit, or even wreck out of the European Union without a price to cushion the shock.
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The British press compared the latest Brexit machinations to Wednesday's other big news - the publication of the first-ever photograph of a black hole.
The EU had been split over the length of delay to offer the United Kingdom, and by law its other 27 member states had to reach a unanimous decision.
Several leaders also stated they'd require assurances of behaviour in exchange for another delay.
The European Union has agreed to delay Brexit by up to six months to October 31 while May seeks an agreement with Labour that she hopes will help get her three-times rejected exit deal approved by parliament.
Guy Verhofstadt, the European Parliament's Brexit coordinator, tweeted that Britain's choices were "revoke, a public vote or a sensible cross-party deal". After she lived a no-confidence vote, but they can't force her out before the end of the year.
Each initiative has floundered so far.
With the House of Commons also strongly opposed to crashing out of the European Union without a deal, having rejected that prospect in parliamentary votes, May reached out to the Opposition Labour Party to hold cross-party talks in an attempt to find a solution to the parliamentary deadlock. Labour favours a softer Brexit than the government has proposed, and wants to retain a close economic relationship with the bloc.
Talks over the past week have not made a breakthrough, though they continued on Thursday, and neither side seemed willing to abandon them yet.
A Kent MP has called for Operation Brock to be lifted as soon as possible after the news that the government has been given another six months to reach a Brexit deal.
'We want out. I can't wait to leave'.
Macron addressed the press at the end of the meeting, calling the conclusion the "best compromise possible", adding that the October 31 deadline "protects us", because it was "a key date, before the installation of the new European Commission".
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