After hours of private talks in Brussels, the two sides said they were far apart on Wednesday evening on key issues and would decide on the future of the talks by the end of this weekend.
The final attempt to move the talks forward on Wednesday began with a meeting and continued at dinner.
In a statement after the meeting, Van der Leyen said negotiators would resume work immediately. “We had a lively and interesting discussion on the status of the game on the list of the best issues. We got a clear understanding of each other’s positions, they were far apart,” she said. “We agree that the teams will meet again soon to resolve these important issues.”
A senior No. 10 source also told CNN that “there are very large gaps between the two sides and it is not yet clear whether the bridge can be bridged” but the Prime Minister “does not want to leave any way to an untested deal.”
Failure to reach a trade agreement will be particularly painful for the UK, which is already suffering from the financial collapse of the coronavirus epidemic.