Posted on Jan 08, 2019
The US administration downgraded the diplomatic status of the European Union’s delegation to the United States last year without making any formal announcement or informing the bloc about the change, a European official said on Tuesday (Jan 8th), according to the New York Times.
President Trump is known to be critical of the EU, which he described in July as a “foe” of the US when it comes to trade. His secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, delivered a highly provocative speech in Brussels (Dec 4th 2018) in which openly questioned whether the EU was “ensuring that the interests of countries and their citizens are placed before those of bureaucrats here in Brussels.”
The EU was rebuffed during the funeral of former US President George Bush in Washington D.C. on Dec 5th. The names of diplomats who had gathered to pay their respects were spoken, as is, custom, from the longest-serving to the newest ambassador.
David O’Sullivan, the Irish civil servant who has served as the Ambassador of the European Union to the United States and the Head of the Delegation of the European Union to the United States since 2014, would have been ranked among the first 20 or 30 ambassadors of the more than 150 foreign representatives in Washington. He was, however, the very last person to be called.
After protests from Brussels and discussion between the EU and the Trump administration, the reclassification of the delegation and the consequent demotion of Mr. O’Sullivan is understood to have been reversed, at least temporarily.
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