Von der Leyen reminds Johnson about social distancing as they take masks off

Boris Johnson was told by European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen to maintain social distancing when the Prime Minister arrived for a crunch Brexit meeting in Brussels.

As the two leaders posed for the cameras, the Prime Minister asked Ms von der Leyen if they were taking their masks off.

The EC president agreed, but told Mr Johnson to "keep distance" as they briefly removed their face coverings.

Ms von der Leyen added: "Then we have to put it back on. You have to put it back on immediately."

The Prime Minister responded, saying: "You run a tight ship here, Ursula, and quite right too."

The pair then headed off for dinner.

11 PHOTOS
Boris Johnson in Brussels
See Gallery
Boris Johnson in Brussels
Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson (L) is welcomed by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen (R) in the Berlaymont building at the EU headquarters in Brussels on December 9, 2020, prior to a post-Brexit talks' working dinner. - Britain's Prime Minister arrives in Brussels on December 9, 2020, with hopes for a post-Brexit trade deal hanging on crisis talks with EU chief. Talks are blocked over the issue of fair competition, with Britain refusing to accept a mechanism that would allow the EU to respond swiftly if UK and EU business rules diverge over time and put European firms at a disadvantage. (Photo by Olivier HOSLET / POOL / AFP) (Photo by OLIVIER HOSLET/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson leaves in a car after a post-Brexit talks' working dinner at the EU headquarters on December 9, 2020 in Brussels. - British Prime Minister Boris Johnson met EU chief Ursula von der Leyen for a working dinner that could save -- or kill off -- hopes for a post-Brexit trade deal. (Photo by JOHN THYS / AFP) (Photo by JOHN THYS/AFP via Getty Images)
BRUSSELS, BELGIUM - DECEMBER 09: Prime Minister Boris Johnson meets with European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen for a dinner during which they will try to reach a breakthrough on a post-Brexit trade deal on December 9, 2020 in Brussels, Belgium. The British prime minister's visit marked his most high-profile involvement in the talks over a post-Brexit trade deal, which has remained elusive despite months of EU and UK negotiating teams shuttling between London and Brussels. (Photo by Aaron Chown - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
BRUSSELS, BELGIUM - DECEMBER 09: Prime Minister Boris Johnson and European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen meet for a dinner during they will try to reach a breakthrough on a post-Brexit trade deal on December 9, 2020 in Brussels, Belgium. The British prime minister's visit marked his most high-profile involvement in the talks over a post-Brexit trade deal, which has remained elusive despite months of EU and UK negotiating teams shuttling between London and Brussels. (Photo by Aaron Chown - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Three men in disguise wait in front the Berlaymont building at the EU headquarters in Brussels to protest as Britain's Prime Minister arrives prior to a post-Brexit talks' working dinneron December 9, 2020. - EU chief Ursula von der Leyen welcomed Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson to her headquarters in Brussels on December 9, 2020, for talks on saving post-Brexit trade negotiations. At Johnson's suggestion, he and von der Leyen removed their anti-Covid facemasks briefly and posed for photographers at the Berlaymont building before heading in for a working dinner. (Photo by François WALSCHAERTS / AFP) (Photo by FRANCOIS WALSCHAERTS/AFP via Getty Images)
Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson (L) leaves the official residence of the British ambassador to the United Kingdom in Brussels on December 9, 2020, prior to a post-Brexit talks' working dinner. - Britain's Prime Minister arrives in Brussels on December 9, 2020, with hopes for a post-Brexit trade deal hanging on crisis talks with EU chief. Talks are blocked over the issue of fair competition, with Britain refusing to accept a mechanism that would allow the EU to respond swiftly if UK and EU business rules diverge over time and put European firms at a disadvantage. (Photo by JOHN THYS / AFP) (Photo by JOHN THYS/AFP via Getty Images)
BRUSSELS, BELGIUM - DECEMBER 09: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson (L) and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen (R) meet on trade deals in Brussels, Belgium on December 09, 2020. (Photo by Alexandros Michailidis/Pool/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
This picture taken on December 9, 2020, shows the Berlaymont building at the EU headquarters in Brussels as Britain's Prime Minister and European Commission President meet for a post-Brexit talks' working dinner. - EU chief Ursula von der Leyen welcomed Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson to her headquarters in Brussels on December 9, 2020, for talks on saving post-Brexit trade negotiations. At Johnson's suggestion, he and von der Leyen removed their anti-Covid facemasks briefly and posed for photographers at the Berlaymont building before heading in for a working dinner. (Photo by JOHN THYS / AFP) (Photo by JOHN THYS/AFP via Getty Images)
BRUSSELS, BELGIUM - DECEMBER 09: Prime Minister Boris Johnson and European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen meet for a dinner during they will try to reach a breakthrough on a post-Brexit trade deal on December 9, 2020 in Brussels, Belgium. The British prime minister's visit marked his most high-profile involvement in the talks over a post-Brexit trade deal, which has remained elusive despite months of EU and UK negotiating teams shuttling between London and Brussels. (Photo by Aaron Chown - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
BRUSSELS, BELGIUM - DECEMBER 09: Prime Minister Boris Johnson and European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen meet for a dinner during they will try to reach a breakthrough on a post-Brexit trade deal on December 9, 2020 in Brussels, Belgium. The British prime minister's visit marked his most high-profile involvement in the talks over a post-Brexit trade deal, which has remained elusive despite months of EU and UK negotiating teams shuttling between London and Brussels. (Photo by Aaron Chown - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
BRUSSELS, BELGIUM - DECEMBER 09: Prime Minister Boris Johnson and European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen meet for a dinner during they will try to reach a breakthrough on a post-Brexit trade deal on December 9, 2020 in Brussels, Belgium. The British prime minister's visit marked his most high-profile involvement in the talks over a post-Brexit trade deal, which has remained elusive despite months of EU and UK negotiating teams shuttling between London and Brussels. (Photo by Aaron Chown - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

Large gaps remain between the UK and European Union in reaching a Brexit deal, Downing Street said following the crunch talks between Johnson and von der Leyen.

The PM and EC president agreed that a "firm decision" about the future of the negotiations should be made by Sunday.

In a statement following a three-hour long dinner in Brussels, a senior Number 10 source said it was "unclear" whether the differences between the two sides could be bridged.

They said: "The PM and VDL had 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.

"The PM and VDL agreed to further discussions over the next few days between their negotiating teams.

"The PM does not want to leave any route to a possible deal untested. The PM and VDL agreed that by Sunday a firm decision should be taken about the future of the talks."

Read Full Story Click here to comment

FROM OUR PARTNERS