EU Complains Brexit Britain Not Giving Bloc Diplomatic Privileges Is ‘Not Friendly’

Pro-European Union demonstrators protest outside the Houses of Parliament against the first vote today on a bill to end Britain's membership of the EU on September 11, 2017. - MPs hold their first vote today on a bill to end Britain's membership of the EU, which ministers say will avoid …
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The EU has complained that Brexit Britain’s refusal to treat the bloc like a sovereign state by offering its mission staff diplomatic immunity is “unacceptable”, demanding its representatives stationed in the UK be given higher-level privileges “without delay”.

Last week it was revealed that the UK would not offer the EU Ambassador João Vale de Almeida or his staff diplomatic protection under the Vienna Convention, over concerns it would set a precedent, with other international bodies demanding the same rights as sovereign states.

Some 143 countries do give the bloc’s mission staff diplomatic status, and Brussels sources have said they fear if the UK does not follow suit, other global governments may decide to downgrade their EU embassies and diplomats, too.

On Monday, the bloc’s high representative for foreign affairs, Josep Borrell, claimed that it was “not a friendly signal”, and that the apparent snub would be detrimental to the future relationship between the United Kingdom and European Union, according to The Guardian.

The delegation’s status is still currently under negotiation, but the British government has said that its proposed standing would not impede the mission’s ability to do its job. However, the lower rank does not offer diplomatic immunity from detention, criminal charges, or taxation.

Despite asking to be treated as a sovereign state, Mr Borrell claimed that “we don’t ask for special treatment”.

“And we expect that [the] United Kingdom treat the European Union delegations accordingly, and without delay,” he said.

Pressing his belief that the UK should fall in line and do as other nations do, the Eurocrat continued: “We have 143 delegations around the world. Without a single exception, all host states have accepted to grant these delegations and their staff and establish the equivalent to that of diplomatic missions of the states under the Vienna convention.

“And the UK is very well aware of that – 143 states around the world, all of them have reciprocal treatment based on this convention, a standard practice between equal partners. And we are confident that we can clear this issue with our friends in London in a satisfactory manner.

“But we will not accept that the United Kingdom will be the only country in the world that doesn’t recognise the delegation of the European Union the equivalent of a diplomatic mission.”

This is not the first time Britain’s refusal to treat the bloc with the deference it believes it deserves has angered European bureaucrats, with EU trade negotiator Michel Barnier said to be irritated by his British counterpart, David Frost, referring to the European Union as “your organisation” during last year’s talks.

To deny the EU full diplomatic status should irritate senior figures in the EU such as former prime minister of Belgium Guy Verhofstadt, when in 2019 he said that the European Union needs to become an “empire”. Former president of the European Parliament Martin Schulz called for a “United States of Europe” in 2017, the same year then-President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker campaigned for an EU army by 2025.

That vision was brought closer to reality this month, when the bloc’s border force and coast guard Frontex revealed its “uniformed service – the European Border and Coast Guard standing corps”.


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