© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: UK Prime Minister Johnson meets Ukrainian President Zelenskiy in London
LONDON (Reuters) – Britain will explore all possibilities for a trade deal with the European Union, but progress needs to be made in the coming days to fill significant gaps, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson told French President Emmanuel Macron on Saturday.
Johnson has set a deadline for the October 15 EU summit to reach an agreement and the EU is looking for more concessions before entering the final stage of negotiations.
"(Johnson) confirmed the UK's commitment to exploring all possible ways to reach an agreement," Johnson's Downing Street office said in a reading of the call.
"The Prime Minister stressed that progress needs to be made in the coming days to close the significant gaps, particularly in the areas of fisheries and a level playing field, through intensive talks between the negotiators."
The two chief negotiators, Michel Barnier from the EU and David Frost from the UK, say they are getting closer to an agreement before October 15, although they have underlined that important gaps remain.
Johnson told Macron the UK wanted a deal, but not at any cost.
"He stressed that a deal would be better for both sides, but also that Britain would be ready to end the transition period on Australian terms if no agreement could be reached," said Johnson's office.
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