Brexit Britain Refusing to Treat EU Like Sovereign State, Blocks Amb Diplomatic Status: Report

Soldiers of Eurocorps raise an European Union flag during the flag-raising ceremony on the eve of the inaugural session of new European Parliament on July 1, 2019 in front of Louise Weiss building (R), headquarters of the European Parliament in Strasbourg, eastern France. (Photo by FREDERICK FLORIN / AFP) (Photo …
FREDERICK FLORIN/AFP/Getty Images

Brexit Britain is reportedly refusing to grant the European Union the rank of a sovereign state, by denying its ambassador to the UK full diplomatic rights and privileges.

The European Union’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs, Josep Barrell, had written a letter to Britain’s Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab outlining the bloc’s frustration that the newly-independent United Kingdom would not offer statuses to its diplomats that “reflect the specific character of the EU”, which it claims it deserves because it has a currency, a court, and can make laws.

The UK, however, does not want to set a precedent by giving mission staff from the EU, considered simply another international body, the same status as diplomats from sovereign nations, according to the BBC’s report on Thursday.

The broadcaster, which has seen the letter, said that sources within the Foreign Office said that EU Ambassador Joao Vale de Almeida and his staff should not be afforded the status outlined in the Vienna Convention, which includes immunity from taxation, arrest, or detention. Vale de Almeida will also miss out on presenting his credentials to Queen Elizabeth II, because he is not a diplomat of a sovereign nation.

EU High Representative Borrell wrote to Mr Raab late last year: “Your service have sent us a draft proposal for an establishment agreement about which we have serious concerns.

“The arrangements offered do not reflect the specific character of the EU, nor do they respond to the future relationship between the EU and the UK as an important third country.

“It would not grant the customary privileges and immunities for the delegation and its staff. The proposals do not constitute a reasonable basis for reaching an agreement.”

Brussels sources fear that the UK’s decision could result in the other 142 countries that do currently give the EU delegates full diplomatic rights to downgrade their statuses, which also would make it easier to expel them from host countries.

A Foreign Office spokesman told the BBC that “discussions are still ongoing” in relation to “the long-term arrangements for the EU delegation to the UK”.

The diplomatic spat will likely come as a great offence to hardline Europhiles, who consider the fate of the European Union to be not that of a collection of nations, but a superstate in its own right.

Guy Verhofstadt, the former prime minister of Belgium who is now a leading figure in the EU’s parliament, admitted in 2019 that the European Union must become an “empire”.

“The world is developing into one not of nation states, but of empires. China is an empire. India is an empire. The US is an empire. We need to create a European Union that is capable of defending our interests,” Mr Verhofstadt said in May 2019.

Brexit leader Nigel Farage has warned of the EU’s efforts of empire-building, saying that it was “killing and destroying” European democracy.

However, since the UK finally left the EU’s institutions on December 31st, 2020, the Reform UK leader predicted that if Euroscepticism becomes a mainstream opinion across Europe post-Brexit, the EU may not even exist in a decade.

Pointing to the cultural divisions in the east and west and the economic differences north and south, Mr Farage said in January: “I don’t think they’ll even be a European Union in ten years’ time. I think that we have set the standard.”

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