18:37 GMT16 April 2021
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    The dispute comes amid ongoing tensions between London and Brussels over bilateral post-Brexit trade talks, with EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier warning earlier this week of a possible "stalemate" in the negotiations.

    The Financial Times has reported about a new London-Brussels spat related to the issue of the British government granting full diplomatic status to the bloc's representation in London.

    According to the newspaper, the UK's move to grant the EU delegation a status in line with the Vienna Convention "appear to have got bogged down".

    EU spokesperson for foreign affairs and security policy Peter Stano reportedly said earlier this week that the bloc's "status in external relations and its subsequent diplomatic status is amply recognised by countries and international organisations around the world".

    He expressed hope that the United Kingdom would "treat the EU delegation accordingly and without delay".

    The talks on the matter between the Foreign Office and the European External Action Service (EEAS) were stalled after UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson won an 80-seat majority in December 2019, in what was followed by the COVID-19 crisis in February.

    The Financial Times cited unnamed EEAS officials as saying that they were told during a meeting on 8 May that the talks had already resumed and that said there was "no reason why this should be a problem".

    One of the sources, however, reportedly described the negotiations as "stuck" and claimed that Britain is dragging its feet on granting full diplomatic status to the EU's representation in the country "pending an agreement on the wider future relationship", according to the newspaper.

    While Brussels insists the status should be granted on an automatic basis, a UK government spokesman only noted that "now we have left the EU, discussions continue with the bloc on the appropriate arrangements for the EU delegation in the UK when the transition period ends on 31 December, 2020".

    Stano, for his part, recalled that the UK government was "well aware" of the EU's missions abroad being treated as equivalent to the bloc's member states.

    "Nothing has changed since the UK's exit from the European Union to justify any change in stance on the UK's part. The status of the EU delegation in London is not part of the negotiations on a future agreement with the UK", he pointed out.

    The remarks come as the two sides remain at odds over the post-Brexit trade talks, with EU chief negotiator Michael Barnier and his UK counterpart David Frost blaming each other for a possible stalemate.

    According to Barnier, a "new dynamism" is needed in the next round of the talks scheduled for 1 June in order to avoid gridlock. Frost, in turn, argued that the EU's proposed deal "contains novel and unbalanced proposals which would bind this country to EU law or standards".

    "What is on offer is not a fair free trade relationship between close economic partners, but a relatively low-quality trade agreement coming with unprecedented EU oversight of our laws and institutions", the official underscored.

    Related:

    EU Trade Chief Slams UK Approach to Post-Brexit Trade Talks
    UK Reportedly Plans to Release All Documents on "EU Threats" in Post-Brexit Trade Talks
    Brexit: Senior Minister Michael Gove Says EU Must Recognise UK as a 'Sovereign State'
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    stalemate, status, talks, Brexit, EU, Britain
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