A senior European Union (EU) official says UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s final Brexit plan “can’t fly” because it is an unworkable move backwards.
The unnamed official, who’s a member of a European Parliament Brexit group, said on Thursday that the PM’s latest proposal left Britain and the EU far apart.
Twenty-eight days before the UK’s scheduled departure from the EU, both sides are positioning themselves for a delay or a no-deal Brexit.
Mr. Johnson has said he wants a deal but insists there can be no delay to Brexit beyond October 31.
The European Parliament Brexit group, according to a statement cited by Reuters, says that Mr. Johnson’s last-ditch proposals “do not represent a basis for an agreement”.
Ireland’s Junior Finance Minister Patrick O’Donovan, whose country is crucial to any deal, said the UK PM’s offer was the basis for discussions, but not of an agreement.
Mr. Johnson had on Wednesday made what he said was his final Brexit pitch to the EU, offering a possible compromise on the Irish border that initially drew a cautious welcome by Brussels.
On Thursday, a senior EU official said the prime minister’s plan was “unworkable”, because it did not offer a solution for the border between Northern Ireland (which is a part of the UK) and the Irish Republic, following the departure of the British province from the EU’s customs union.
The UK government and the EU expect to strike a deal at an October 17-18 summit.
A law passed by parliament compels Mr. Johnson to delay Brexit unless he strikes a deal, but the PM has said further delay would be “pointless and expensive”.