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UK, EU chiefs to discus Brexit, free trade talks Saturday

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is to speak to European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen on Saturday to “take stock” of negotiations on a post-Brexit free trade deal and to “discuss next steps,” a British government spokesman said.

The U.K. announcement came as both sides were winding up another weeklong session of detailed negotiations on a rudimentary free trade agreement that should come in force once a Brexit transition period ends Dec. 31.

Little progress has been made on such a deal sine the U.K. left the bloc at the end of January.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen arrives for an EU summit at the European Council building in Brussels, Friday, Oct. 2, 2020. European Union leaders will be assessing the state of their economy and the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on it during their final day of a summit meeting. (AP PhotoOlivier Matthys, Pool)

Both sides have acknowledged that time is running out if they are to achieve an agreement before the current Brexit transition period comes to an end at the end of the year.

Johnson has said he is prepared to walk away from the negotiations if there is no agreement by the time of the next EU summit on October 15. The EU sees a deadline at the end of the month, allowing for two months to get any deal through legislative approval.