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The Latest: Croatia leader backs strict Brexit deadlines

European Council President Donald Tusk, left, greets German Chancellor Angela Merkel during a round table meeting at an EU summit in Brussels, Friday, March 22, 2019. European Union leaders gathered again Friday after deciding that the political crisis in Britain over Brexit poses too great a threat and that action is needed to protect the smooth running of the world's biggest trading bloc. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)

BRUSSELS — The Latest on Brexit (all times local):

10:45 a.m.

Croatia’s prime minister says European Union leaders are protecting their citizens and businesses by setting strict deadlines for Britain’s departure from the bloc given the impasse in the U.K.

Andrej Plenkovic said Friday that “we are saving the stability, credibility, and reliability of legal system of the union and its institutions and the decisions which are taken.”

EU leaders have granted a Brexit delay until May 22 should Prime Minister Theresa May convince Parliament to accept her deal, or failing that until April 12 to take an entirely new approach.

Plenkovic says Croatian citizens want to know whether they will have 12 candidates in the May 23-26 EU polls or only 11, if Britain remains a member country.

He regrets the result of the Brexit referendum in Britain in 2016 and says EU leaders “are negotiating something we didn’t want.”

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8:05 a.m.

European Union leaders are gathering again Friday after deciding that the political crisis in Britain over Brexit poses too great a threat to the world’s biggest trading bloc.

In a move that underlined their loss of confidence in British Prime Minister Theresa May, the leaders, set two deadlines for Britain to leave or to take an entirely new path in considering its EU future.

At marathon late night talks, the leaders rejected May’s request to extend the Brexit deadline from March 29 — just one week away — until June 30.

They agree to delay only until May 22, on the eve of EU elections, if she can persuade Britain’s Parliament to endorse the Brexit deal. Failing that, May would have until April 12 to choose a new path.

The Associated Press