United Kingdom accused of 'petty' behaviour in European Union diplomat row

22 Janvier, 2021, 11:13 | Auteur: Christine Menetries
  • Brexit Britain Refusing to Treat EU Like Sovereign State, Blocks Amb Diplomatic Status: Report

The EU insists its envoy should be awarded the full diplomatic status of a sovereign nation, as is the case for its ambassadors to 143 other countries around the world where the bloc has delegations.

This means European Union diplomats would not have the full protection of the Vienna Convention, giving them immunity from detention, criminal jurisdiction and taxation.

FORMER Brexit chief negotiator Michel Barnier has been named European of the Year by European Movement Ireland.

The EU argues it is not a typical global organisation.

The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office wants to treat the European Union delegation only as representatives of an global organisation.

"I hope that we will be able together to find a clever and objective solution to the status of the European Union in London", Barnier said.

Tory MP Tobias Ellwood called the move "simply petty", adding: 'We are better than this'. (US President Joe) Biden commits to strengthening alliances and we engage in silly spats which will not help strengthen security and trade cooperation.

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"Nothing has changed since the UK's exit from the European Union to justify any change in stance on the UK's part", he said, adding that the EU is "not a typical worldwide organization".

The European Commission defended the status of EU diplomats in London, arguing that the bloc's 143 delegations worldwide had all been given a status equivalent to that of diplomatic missions of nation states - something the United Kingdom was aware of.

He said granting reciprocal treatment based on the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations is "standard practice" between equal partners and we are "confident that we can clear this issue with our friends in London in a satisfactory manner".

The BBC said European Union sources had accused Britain of pettiness and hypocrisy, pointing out that when it was still a member, it had signed up to granting European Union envoys full diplomatic status.

Under the Vienna Convention governing diplomatic relations, envoys representing countries have certain privileges such as immunity from detention and, in some cases, prosecution, as well as tax exemptions.

Josep Borrell, the EU's High Representative for Foreign Affairs, has written to the Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, to express his "serious concerns".

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