The UK and EU’s diplomatic status


A chara, – I see that the UK foreign office is refusing to grant the EU ambassador to the UK the full diplomatic status and privileges afforded to diplomats under the Vienna Convention (World, January 21st).

The British decision is in marked contrast to 142 other countries around the world where the EU has delegations and where its ambassadors are all granted the same status as diplomats representing sovereign nations, and represents a change of UK policy from 2010, when the UK agreed that the EU’s foreign service should be granted the “privileges and immunities equivalent to those referred to in the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations of 18 April 1961”.

The danger is that hostile states might copy the UK and downgrade the protections granted to EU diplomats in their own countries. This could open EU diplomats up to being more easily harassed and expelled.

It should be noted that US president Donald Trump also downgraded the status of the EU’s ambassador to the US in this manner, a decision which was quietly reversed last year.

Quite why the British government should want to remind the incoming Biden administration of its Trumpian characteristics at a time it is trying to curry favour with the Biden team is difficult to fathom.

Might I suggest that the EU should withdraw its ambassador to the UK for consultations and that any discussions between the EU and UK on outstanding matters be put on hold in the interim?

The UK decision is another petty and silly attempt to downgrade the EU to mere “international organisation” status, despite the fact that its treaty obligations under the Withdrawal Agreement, the Northern Ireland protocol, and the EU–UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement are with the EU, and not with individual member states. – Yours, etc,




Co Wicklow.