EU chief Ursula von der Leyen will hold video talks with Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson as they seek a breakthrough in post-Brexit trade negotiations after the EU launched legal action

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen buttons her jacket as she arrives for an EU summit at the European Council building in Brussels, on Friday, October 2, 2020.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen buttons her jacket as she arrives for an EU summit at the European Council building in Brussels, on Friday, October 2, 2020. (AP)

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen will "take stock" of negotiations on a post-Brexit free trade deal and to "discuss next steps," officials have said.

The two leaders will meet online on Saturday, von der Leyen's spokesman Eric Mamer said on Twitter, for "stock-taking of negotiations and discussion of next steps".

Friday's announcement by both sides came as they 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 December 31.

It also follows the EU's launching a legal case against the UK for undercutting their earlier divorce deal.

Little progress has been made on free-trade deal since the UK left the bloc at the end of January.

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.

READ MORE: EU takes legal action against UK over attempt to overturn withdrawal deal

Roadblocks 

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.

Complicating the trade talks further are Britain’s plans to breach an international agreement it signed with the EU to regulate trade on the island of Ireland, where both sides have their only land border separating the UK's Northern Ireland from EU member Ireland.

UK Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick said there were still some "very significant issues" which needed to be resolved if they were to get an agreement.

"There isn't very much time now so we are urging the EU to show flexibility and pragmatism in these final stages of the talks," he told the BBC.

"We hope that we can move swiftly now to reach the kind of sensible trading that we would like to see," Jenrick said.

"Of course, as we have always said, that if that isn’t possible then we are perfectly content to see the transition period end and us to continue to trade on the same sort of arrangements" as many other nations that trade on rules set out by the World Trade Organization.

READ MORE: UK dangles Oct 15 deadline as EU warns Brexit terms must be respected

Britain must respect EU Brexit bill

Also on Friday, Ireland's Prime Minister Micheal Martin said on Britain must respect the Brexit arrangements it had agreed with the European Union for the sensitive Irish border.

"I'm looking forward to giving my assessment on the Brexit situation to my colleagues... in particular the importance of protecting (of) and the adherence to the Withdrawal Agreement and the Ireland protocol," Martin said.

"That is important in terms of trade, protection of jobs."

The EU and Ireland say Britain's new Internal Markets Bill threatens the Irish peace.

READ MORE: European Union stunt with Brexit is a suicide pill

Source: TRTWorld and agencies