21 January, 2021
The United Kingdom risk starting a row with the European Union for refusing to grant full diplomatic status to the EU’s representative to the UK, João Vale de Almeida, as traditionally granted to ambassadors.
The privileges and immunities under the Vienna Convention was a status refused to grant the EU ambassador by the UK Foreign Office.
This decision by the British could be perceived as a post-Brexit snub, this marks a contrast between the UK and the other 142 countries that have diplomatic relations with the bloc, where the EU has a representative that is treated in the same manner as other ambassadors.
Thou the EU is yet to publicly criticized the UK government over the situation but its High Representative for Foreign Affairs, Josep Borrell, has written to British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab expressing his “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.
If it is not resolved beforehand, the impasse between the EU and the UK is set to be raised at a meeting of the bloc’s foreign ministers on Monday, in the first such gathering of the political group since the Brexit transition period ended.
The EU concern is that, if the UK does not change its approach, countries that have a contentious relationship with the bloc could follow suit and change the way in which EU ambassadors are treated.