Just 30 days before Britain leaves the EU's orbit following a standstill transition period since it formally quit the bloc, the sides are trying to agree a trade deal to avoid a rupture that could snarl nearly $1-trillion in annual trade.
With each side urging the other to compromise, a French official said Britain must clarify its positions and "really negotiate", and cautioned that the European Union would not accept a "substandard deal".
Simon Coveney, who has had a leading role in the first phase of negotiations over the Irish border, said at the same time both sides must avoid engaging in a blame game as the "truth of Brexit" and its subsequent challenges become clear. "We have a bit of time left but still a long way to go and if the United Kingdom believes that [the limited] time left works in its favour as it has in the past few years, that is not the case,"Mr Beaune said".
© Photograph: Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP/Getty Images The EU's chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, arrives to continue Brexit talks in London on Monday. "There can be no agreement unless there is one that gives sustainable and wide-ranging access to British waters".
Asked if a "no deal" scenario was closer than anyone would admit, he told ITV: "It's certainly the case that there is a chance that we may not get a negotiated outcome".
With just one full calendar month left to the final Brexit deadline, Mr Coveney was supported by the French government in also warning against trying to "run down the clock" in undue brinksmanship to get what they want in any deal.
In any event, negotiations are reportedly 95% done (it's always that last 5% that's the most hard!), with the final sticking points relating to state aid, fair competition, fishing rights, and conflict resolution mechanisms.
The government's critics say it is putting the onus on business to take the hit from a new Customs regime rather than equipping them with the tools to deal with what they fear will be chaos at the border, even if the government secures a deal.
Mrs Merkel told MEPs: 'I hope that we will still come to a contractual solution.
Merkel said some European Union member states were losing patience.
"Perhaps for some the most tangible are concrete questions, from the British point of view access to energy markets, from our view access to British fishing grounds", the German Chancellor said.
As for Brexit, the narrative appears to be that both sides are still selling the notion that negotiations are proving to be "extremely tough".
Downing Street said the negotiating teams led by Michel Barnier and David Frost worked until "late last night" in London but warned there would no compromise in the UK's position on winning back control of fishing waters.
"We want to try and reach a free trade agreement as soon as possible but we've been clear we won't change our negotiating position", the spokesman said.
"We look forward to welcoming the brightest and best talent from across the world and that means that inevitably we will be welcoming people from India", Foster said.