UK, EU leaders to discuss Brexit talks in evening call

UK, EU leaders to discuss Brexit talks in evening call

However, talks have been gridlocked for months over several key issues, with London and Brussels appearing dug in over their respective stances

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Credit: AFP File Photo

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen will hold talks on the state of last-ditch Brexit trade talks at 1900 GMT on Thursday, Downing Street said.

"The PM will speak with European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen at 7pm today (UK time) to discuss the state of play in the negotiations," a spokesman for Johnson's office said.

A spokesman for von der Leyen said the phone call between the pair, the latest in a series of conversations in recent weeks, would "take stock" of the negotiations.

Britain formally left the EU at the end of January, but is bound by most of its rules until December 31 as the two sides try to agree the terms of their future trading relationship.

However, talks have been gridlocked for months over several key issues, with London and Brussels appearing dug in over their respective stances.

Earlier Thursday, Johnson's spokesman sounded a pessimistic note over their outcome, saying a "no-deal" scenario was still on the cards as negotiators work to "bridge the gaps that remain".

But he added: "Australian WTO (World Trade Organization) exit remains the most likely outcome still."

A German foreign ministry source said Britain was showing some movement in the talks, while warning that time was running out.

"We see signs that the British side is also moving. A real problem is that time for ratification is running down by the hour," said the source.