The European Commission has said no date had yet been fixed for a Brexit meeting in Brussels between prime minister Boris Johnson and president Ursula von der Leyen.
Commission spokesman Eric Mamer told reporters in Brussels the call had focused on the “sticking points” in the negotiations but said it was a “very cordial” call.
There will be further discussions between the negotiating teams to draw up a list of the main obstacles which will be the subject of the forthcoming meeting between Johnson and the EU official.
Commission spokesman Daniel Ferrie said talks on the issue between minister Michael Gove and the commission’s Maros Sefcovic had made “very good progress”.
He said the EU is prepared to carry out further negotiations with the UK in 2021 if a deal cannot be reached by the end of the transition period.
The current trading arrangements expire at the end of the month and Downing Street has ruled out resuming talks if there is not a deal.
Ferrie said the mandate given to officials by the 27 member states and the European Parliament would permit further talks.
“If that deal is not in place on January 1, then we have a no-deal situation,” he said.
“That does not exclude that negotiations can continue – from our side – and it does not exclude that we can continue on the basis of the mandate that is given to us.”