UK Foreign Office refuses to grant EU ambassador full diplomatic status

A row has broken out over the status of the European Union’s new ambassador to the United Kingdom. The British Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office has indicated that the incoming EU ambassador to the UK, Portuguese Diplomat Joao Vale de Almeida, will not be given the full diplomatic status of an ambassador from a sovereign nation, insisting that he and his team should instead be given the reduced status of a diplomats from an international organisation.

This decision defies the convention adopted by every other state, of granting the EU Ambassador full diplomatic status. In each of the EU’s 142 delegations – equivalent to diplomatic missions – around the world, its staff have been bestowed such rights. The Vienna Convention of 1961 grants various privileges to diplomats, such as immunity from detention, criminal jurisdiction and taxation. The staff of International Organisations, however, are subject to separate rules, agreed on an ad hoc basis between the organisation and the country.

In a letter to UK’s Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab, the EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell, has expressed “serious concern” over the matter. The BBC reports EU Officials calling the UK’s decision petty and hypocritical, due to the fact that it signed the Lisbon treaty in 2009, when it was a member, granting EU diplomats “privileges and immunities equivalent to those referred to in the Vienna Convention”.

The spat has been lambasted on twitter by many, including those within the UK's governing Conservative party:

Speaking on the matter, a UK Foreign Office spokesperson stated:

"Engagement continues with the EU on the long-term arrangements for the EU delegation to the UK. While discussions are still ongoing, it would not be appropriate for us to speculate on the detail of an eventual agreement."

Source: commonspace.eu with the BBC
Picture: Source: Joao Vale de Almeida, Ambassador of the UK to the EU; EC - Audiovisual Service / Christian Lambiott

Related articles

Editor's choice
News
Borrell tells the European Parliament that the situation in Afghanistan was critical, but the EU will remain engaged

Borrell tells the European Parliament that the situation in Afghanistan was critical, but the EU will remain engaged

Borrell underlined that the European Union will make every effort to support the peace process and to remain a committed partner to the Afghan people. "Of course, we will have to take into account the evolving situation, but disengagement is not an option.  We are clear on that: there is no alternative to a negotiated political settlement, through inclusive peace talks.
Editor's choice
News
Lebanon's military chief says army will collapse without urgent aid

Lebanon's military chief says army will collapse without urgent aid

The commander of the Lebanese armed forces, General Joseph Aoun, appealed to the international community on Thursday (17 June) to support the army, warning that its “collapse” will fuel chaos and insecurity. His statement was addressed to representatives of various states at a French-sponsored conference to support the army. 

Popular

Editor's choice
News
Lebanon's military chief says army will collapse without urgent aid

Lebanon's military chief says army will collapse without urgent aid

The commander of the Lebanese armed forces, General Joseph Aoun, appealed to the international community on Thursday (17 June) to support the army, warning that its “collapse” will fuel chaos and insecurity. His statement was addressed to representatives of various states at a French-sponsored conference to support the army.