EU not notified of "downgrading" of its mission to U.S.
08 Jan 2019, 23:56 ( 5 Months ago) | updated: 08 Jan 2019, 23:57 ( 5 Months ago)
A spokesperson with European Union (EU) said on Tuesday that the EU was not notified by the United States of the change of its diplomatic status.
According to German media the DW, the U.S. administration downgraded the diplomatic status of the EU mission to the United States from member state to international organization at the end of last year without notice.
Responding to Xinhua about the "downgrading" via e-mail, EU Spokesperson Maja Kocijancic said that the EU "understand that there was a recent change in the way the diplomatic precedence list is implemented by the United States' Protocol", but "were not notified of any change".
Kocijancic added that "we are discussing with the relevant services in the administration possible implications for the EU Delegation in Washington".
"We expect the diplomatic practice established some years ago to be observed. The entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty substantially enhanced the EU's status in external relations and this is amply recognized by most of the countries around the world," Kocijancic told Xinhua.
Commenting on the DW's report, Guy Verhofstadt, a leading member of the European Parliament and former Belgian prime minister, said on Twitter that "This is no way for a country to treat its friends&allies! America First must mean #Europe United."
For Kocijancic, "the ties that we have between Europe and the United States extend well beyond Washington, DC and run deep into our societies" and despite policy disagreements, the two sides remain natural partners and friends.
The transatlantic relations have gone through nosedive since U.S. President Donald Trump took office almost two years ago. The two once close allies are finding themselves at loggerhead on such issues as trade policies, NATO defense budget, Iranian nuclear issue and climate change, among others.
Speaking at the Union's Western Balkans summit in May last year, Donald Tusk, European Council President, told reporters that "Looking at the latest decisions of President Trump someone could even think 'with friends like that who needs enemies?'".