BRUSSELS – Despite all the complications and hurt feelings that Brexit brought about in the relationship between the European Union and its former member, Britain, this week witnessed the addition of a diplomatic row reminiscent of a similar argument made by former President Donald J Trump.
So far, at least, Britain has refused to grant the EU ambassador the same diplomatic status as the other ambassadors.
The British argument is that the European Union is an international union, not a nation-state, and should receive the same treatment as other international organizations, below the diplomatic arrangement. There is also suspicion that the British government is trying to embarrass Brussels and compare its nation-state status with the confederation it chose to leave.
The contention was I mentioned it first The BBC, the case is still under negotiation, representatives from both sides said Thursday.
The British Foreign Office said in a statement: “It continues to engage with the European Union on long-term arrangements for the European Union delegation to the United Kingdom.”
Later on Thursday, a spokesperson for the Foreign Office clarified the British position and said that “regardless of the agreement reached” in the end, “the European Union, its delegation and its staff will have the necessary privileges and immunities to enable them to do their job effectively.” .
Peter Stano, spokesman for the European External Action Service, said that the European Union “has been granted privileges and immunities equivalent to those accorded to diplomatic missions under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations” and has such a status in 143 other countries and multilateral organizations in the world. And the UK is well aware of this fact.
Both sides indicated that representation levels were not addressed in the Brexit negotiations
Brexit is still tough, With major teething problems And the customs issues that delay trade in two directions, and its position appears to confirm what supporters of Brexit call its “liberalization” from the European Union and the obligations of shared sovereignty.
One of the consequences of the downgrade, if confirmed, would be that the EU ambassador was not allowed to present credentials to the Queen.
Ian Bond, foreign policy director for the European Reform Center in London, said, “Britain’s attempt to downgrade the EU delegation to the UK appears frivolous and is guaranteed to cause bad faith, when the UK needs friends in Brussels.”
“It is worth noting that Trump tried the same trick, but he had to hold back,” he said, noting. Similar attempt to downgrade The post of European Union ambassador to Washington two years ago.
“Is this a good precedent?” Mr. Bond said.
The demotion of Ambassador David O’Sullivan became evident at the funeral of President George HW Bush in December 2018, when Mr. O’Sullivan’s name was not recalled in the expected order. The names of the diplomats who gathered in Washington to pay their respects to the former president were read aloud, as usual, from the longest serving ambassador to the newest, but Mr. O’Sullivan was finally summoned.
Mr Trump was known to hate the European Union, which he likened to an opponent and competitor, not an ally. But after the news emerged, former US ambassador to the European Union, Gordon Sondland, was instrumental in persuading the Trump administration to participate in the Restore the diplomatic status of the European Union And the arrangement after three months.
Of course, while Britain was still a member of the European Union, Britain has been vocal in defending the bloc’s diplomatic position to the Trump administration.
The ambassador of the European Union in London, João Vale de Almeida, is one of the bloc’s most experienced countries. He previously served as the European Union Ambassador to the United Nations from 2015 to 2019, and Ambassador to the United States from 2010 to 2014.