The EU has slammed the UK government’s decision not to award full diplomatic status to the bloc’s ambassador to London, Joao Vale de Almeida, and the rest of his 25-strong mission in the wake of its exit from the bloc.
“We will not accept the UK [being] the only country in the world that doesn’t recognise the delegation of the EU,” the EU minister for foreign affairs, Josep Borrell, said on Monday after a meeting of the bloc’s 27 foreign ministers.
He told a news conference that, of the 143 countries where the EU has delegations, the UK is the only one to have downgraded the status of its diplomatic mission.
“We do not ask for something new or any special treatment. The status of the EU is recognised by countries and international organisations around the world, and we expect the UK to treat EU delegations accordingly and without delay,” Borrell added.
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The foreign affairs chief said London’s move is “not a friendly signal” considering that the UK has just left the EU, but he said the bloc was confident that it could clear up the issue with the British government.
The UK has declined to give Almeida and his colleagues the privileges usually granted to diplomats under the Vienna Convention, with the government saying the decision is due to the EU being an international body, not a nation state.
“The EU, its delegation and staff will receive the privileges and immunities necessary to enable them to carry out their work in the UK effectively,” a spokesperson from the UK Foreign Office said last week.
Former Brexit negotiator Lindsay Croisdale-Appleby was recently appointed the UK’s charge d’affaires to the EU – a lower diplomatic post than ambassador.
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