British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is preparing to again request the EU postponement for the Brexit, as the prospects for an agreement between London and Brussels before October 31 become increasingly gloomy.
There was some optimism at the end of last week when Johnson and Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar announced that they had found a possible route to a deal. However, last weekend it turned out that it remains difficult to reach an agreement in the very short term.
According to several British media, the British government is therefore preparing for a new postponement, even if agreement is reached at the EU summit this week about some kind of departure arrangement.
In his most recent plan, Johnson proposed a new customs system between Ireland, Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom. This is to prevent a hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland. In theory, Johnson's plan would amount to free movement of goods on the Irish island without border controls.
Although EU is willing to examine the proposal, Brussels says that Johnson's proposal does not go far enough. It is based on technological means that do not yet exist and have not been tested in practice.
According to a diplomatic source from Brussels who spoke to The Guardian newspaper, it is "impossible" for the British to leave the EU on October 31 with a "brand new concept" as Johnson proposed.
Even when Johnson and the other EU leaders reach an agreement at this week's European summit, it is still impossible to have such a deal come into effect on October 31.
It is painful that Johnson apparently cannot help but ask for a new postponement: after all, the prime minister is legally obliged to do so, if he does not have a deal at the end of this week.