UK, EU agree to intensively bridge gaps


British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen have “agreed the importance” of finding a post-Brexit trade deal, Downing Street has said.

They agreed progress has been made in talks between the EU and UK but “significant gaps” remain, Downing Street said, the BBC reported.

Both have instructed their chief negotiators to “work intensively” in order to try to bridge those gaps.

Negotiations between the UK and EU broke up on Friday without agreement.

Both sides are calling on the other to compromise on key issues, including fishing and government subsidies.

Johnson and von der Leyen spoke during a phone call on Saturday and agreed to speak on a regular basis.

A Downing Street spokesperson said the two had agreed on the importance of finding an agreement “as a strong basis for a strategic EU-UK relationship in future.”

The UK’s chief negotiator, Lord Frost, tweeted that work to resolve differences between the UK and EU “begins as soon as we can next week”.

Speaking earlier, while on a visit to Leeds, Johnson said he wants a deal like one struck between the EU and Canada, but reiterated the UK was ready should it have to leave without a deal.

“We’re resolved on either course, we’re prepared for either course and we’ll make it work but it’s very much up to our friends and partners,” Johnson said.

It comes after von der Leyen called for talks to “intensify”, as both sides set an October deadline to settle their differences.

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