UK Refuses to Grant EU Ambassador Full Diplomatic Status, Reports Say

© AP Photo / Francisco SecoThe Union Flag and European Union flags flap in the wind prior a meeting between European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson at EU headquarters in Brussels, Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2020
The Union Flag and European Union flags flap in the wind prior a meeting between European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson at EU headquarters in Brussels, Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2020 - Sputnik International
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LONDON (Sputnik) – The UK government is refusing to grant the European Union's ambassador to the United Kingdom, Joao Vale de Almeida, the same full diplomatic status given to other ambassadors and is treating him instead as a representative of an international organisation, the BBC reported on Thursday.

The UK finally left the EU on 31 December as part of the Brexit process and began a new political and economic relationship with the bloc.

According to the BBC, the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office is claiming that the EU is an international body and not a nation-state, so it cannot be treated in the same way.

French President Emmanuel Macron attends an EU-China video-conference meeting along with Chinese President Xi Jinping, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and President of the European Council Charles Michel, at the Fort de Bregancon in Bormes-les-Mimosas, France December 30, 2020.  - Sputnik International
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The refusal to grant diplomatic status to the bloc's envoy means that de Almeida and his staff will not have the privileges and immunities afforded to diplomats under the Vienna Convention, or the opportunity to present his credentials to the Queen.

The broadcaster also claimed to have seen a letter to UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab from the EU's High Representative for Foreign Affairs, Josep Borrell, in which the European official had expressed his concern about the proposal, warning that it did not constitute "a reasonable basis for reaching an agreement".

"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", Borrell wrote.

The BBC, who said the issue is expected to be discussed by EU foreign ministers on Monday, quoted a UK Foreign Office spokesperson as saying: "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".

© AP Photo / Francisco SecoEuropean Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell addresses a joint online press conference with European Commissioner for Values and Transparency Vera Jourova following a weekly College of Commissioners meeting at EU headquarters in Brussels, Wednesday, June 10, 2020
UK Refuses to Grant EU Ambassador Full Diplomatic Status, Reports Say  - Sputnik International
European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell addresses a joint online press conference with European Commissioner for Values and Transparency Vera Jourova following a weekly College of Commissioners meeting at EU headquarters in Brussels, Wednesday, June 10, 2020

The report also said some in the EU fear that other governments might follow suit and downgrade the diplomatic status of its representative in their own countries.

Sputnik has approached the Foreign Office for comments.

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