Talks on a post-Brexit trade deal between the EU and the UK are at a "critical phase" in London.
The EU's chief negotiator Michel Barnier did not head home this morning as some expected, and a briefing he was meant to hold for EU diplomats was cancelled.
Mr Barnier was due to brief 27 national envoys to Brussels today by video conference.
But a spokesperson for the group confirmed the meeting would not go ahead "due to the ongoing intensive negotiations in London".
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's deputy spokesman said that "time is in very short supply" and "we're at a very difficult point in the talks".
Conversations have dragged on late into the evening several times this week.
While the majority of the work has been done negotiations are continuing on the level playing field and fisheries.
And while talks are continuing today and will go into the weekend, the chances of a deal before Monday now seem unlikely.
— Sebastian Fischer (@SFischer_EU) December 4, 2020
The British government is complaining that the EU has come to the table looking for fresh concessions at the 11th hour following pressure from French President Emmanuel Macron.
Earlier this week, a senior Irish figure involved in the talks said the announcement of the roll-out of the Pfizer COVID vaccine in the UK could be good news for the talks, in that politically it could provide Boris Johnson with the cover to do a deal.
The Irish government still expects an agreement to be reached at the last minute.
With time running out for the implementation of any deal before the January 1st deadline it is increasingly starting to feel like that last minute.
Charles Michel, head of the European Council, added: "It's unfortunate that it took longer than planned but we're still currently negotiating and Michel Barnier is leading the negotiations, so we'll see over the next few days what the next steps are."
Reporting by Sean Defoe, with additional reporting by IRN