European Union governments are getting impatient over the lack of progress in the Brexit negotiations, Angela Merkel warned.
The German Chancellor said Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, was getting "increasingly involved", in a sign that negotiations were nearing an endgame.
Merkel said negotiations in London, which remain deadlocked over the critical issues of fishing, level playing field guarantees and the deal's enforcement, were "difficult and challenging".
UK and EU negotiators are in a race against time to strike a trade deal and ratify it before the end-of-year no deal deadline, when Britain leaves the Single Market and Customs Union.
Failure means the UK trading with its major partner on the less lucrative WTO terms, with tariffs, quotas and severe disruption to trade at borders.
"Some member states are getting a little impatient," Merkel said, 32 days before the deadline. "There's not much time left."
France's Europe minister warned there could be no trade deal without "sustainable and wide-ranging access to British waters".
"Our fishermen are no less important than theirs and they didn't have the right to vote in the referendum," Clement Beaune said.
Ireland's foreign minister said it was "ridiculous" for Britain to play a "blame game" after refusing to extend the transition period.
"The truth of Brexit is being exposed in terms of the challenges of it," Simon Coveney said.
The European Commission yesterday resisted demands by France, the Netherlands and Belgium to publish emergency no-deal plans for fear of upsetting the delicately poised trade negotiations.
The UK Prime Minister's official spokesman said: "We have been clear that we won't change our negotiating position."
George Eustice said a no-deal Brexit could create "new opportunities" for British farmers as tariffs on EU imports would mean they would sell more produce in the UK.
But the National Farmers Union warned that tariffs on the 60 per cent of UK food and drink that is exported to the EU would cripple them.
The Environment Secretary said the next week to 10 days would be "crucial" in getting a deal done.
A new multi million-pound Border Operations Centre will use technology to cope with any border chaos when the transition period ends. It will monitor the flow of people and goods into the UK around the clock and in real time.
Disruption to border traffic was expected whether or not there was a trade deal but officials hoped the centre would minimise it.
It was hoped that the UK would have the "world's most effective border" by 2025.
The EU said it would bring in full customs checks on UK products from January 1. Britain would introduce a phased approach, not bringing in full checks until July, which the Government blamed on coronavirus.