UK Priminister Boris Johnson’s dinner with EU chief Ursula von der Leyen – aimed at breaking the Brexit trade deadlock – has ended without agreement.
A No 10 spokesperson said “very large gaps remain” but talks will continue, with a “firm decision” by Sunday on whether a deal can be reached.
Mrs von der Leyen said the two sides were still “far apart”.
Talks between the UK’s chief negotiator Lord Frost and the EU’s Michel Barnier will resume in Brussels later. The two negotiators also attended the three-hour dinner meeting between the two leaders.
The BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg said the evening had “plainly gone badly” and the chances of the UK leaving the post-Brexit transition period at the end of the year without a firm arrangement was a “big step closer”.
Time is running out to reach a deal before 31 December, when the UK stops following EU trading rules.
Major disagreements remain on fishing rights, business competition rules and how a deal will be policed.
The dinner was seen as a last-ditch opportunity to work through the main sticking points and for the two sides to try and find some common ground.
In a statement, the UK side said there had been “a frank discussion about the significant obstacles which remain in the negotiations”.
“Very large gaps remain between the two sides and it is still unclear whether these can be bridged,” a No 10 spokesperson said.
They said the two sides had agreed to further discussions over the next few days, and the PM did “not want to leave any route to a possible deal untested”.
“The PM and VDL [von der Leyen] agreed that by Sunday a firm decision should be taken about the future of the talks,” the spokesperson added.
Mrs von der Leyen said the discussions had been “lively and interesting”, and the two sides fully “understand each other’s positions” but they “remain far apart”.
“We will come to a decision by the end of the weekend,” she said.