The European Union has called off Lindsay Croisdale-Appleby’s first meeting with top Eurocrat Frédéric Bernard in apparent retaliation at the UK’s decision to deny the EU’s representative in Britain full diplomatic privileges.
Croisdale-Appleby is the Head of the UK Mission to the European Union, being appointed earlier this month, and was prepared to meet with the chief of Charles Michel’s Cabinet today. But the talks were “postponed for the time being” according to an insider who spoke with the publication Politico.
The UK representative, who was a veteran of European affairs after serving on Downing Street’s Europe taskforce as deputy chief negotiator last year, has yet to formalise his diplomatic position but that moment appears to now be a long way off.
The row started last week when the UK decided to not grant full diplomatic privileges to the EU’s representative in Britain, citing the fact that the EU is not a sovereign state.
“It’s a matter of fact that the EU is a collective of nations, but it’s not a state… in its own right” said a spokesman for Boris Johnson, while confirming that “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.”
The row has escalated significantly since, with former EU dealmaker Michel Barnier warning the UK “to be very careful” in a statement that many saw as having sinister undertones.
European Commission and current foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell has also spoken out in a public rift that reveals the European Union’s desire to be viewed as something akin to a sovereign state.
“It’s not a friendly signal, the first one UK has sent us immediately after leaving the EU” said Mr Borrell. “If things have to continue like this there are no good prospects.”