“It’s not a state”: Boris weighs in on EU diplomatic row

Prime minister Boris Johnson has commented on the ongoing diplomatic row between the Foreign Office and the European Commission over the UK’s refusal to grant EU diplomats the same protections afforded to those representing nation states.

A spokesman for prime minister Boris Johnson told reporters on Thursday: “The EU, its delegation and staff will receive the privileges and immunities necessary to enable them to carry out their work in the UK effectively.”

However he insisted: “It’s a matter of fact that the EU is a collective of nations, but it’s not a state… in its own right.”

The European Commission pointed out that it currently has 143 delegations around the world and “without exception, all host states have accepted to grant these delegations and their staff a status equivalent to that of diplomatic missions of states under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, and the UK is well aware of this fact.”

In a statement, the EU executive added: “The EU’s status in external relations and its subsequent diplomatic status is amply recognised by countries and international organisations around the world, and we expect the United Kingdom to treat the EU Delegation accordingly and without delay.”

In response, a Foreign Office spokesperson said: “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.”