United Kingdom government will not pursue visa-free European Union travel for musicians

Brenda Watkins
January 22, 2021

Britain and the European Union are locked in a diplomatic row over London's refusal to give full diplomatic status to the 27-member bloc's envoy following Brexit.

"I hope that we will be able together to find a clever and objective solution to the status of the EU in London", Barnier said.Lord Adonis, a strongly pro-European Labour peer, said: "Boris Johnson and Dominic Raab have decided not just to leave the EU but to insult it - denying full diplomatic status to the EU ambassador being the latest insult".

The UK, however, does not want to set a precedent by giving mission staff from the European Union, considered simply another worldwide body, the same status as diplomats from sovereign nations, according to the BBC's report on Thursday.

Michel Barnier, EU chief Brexit negotiator, said this week that Britain does not have the "same ambition" on the mobility of artists that the EU has.

Meanwhile London argues that the European Union envoy should only be given the lesser privileges awarded to worldwide organisations, such as the global Monetary Fund.

"It would not grant the customary privileges and immunities for the delegation and its staff".

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Earlier, the BBC had cited a Foreign Office spokesperson as saying: "Engagement continues with the European Union on the long-term arrangements for the European Union delegation to the UK".

However, the European Commission said that it was Britain's fault that musicians are not one of the professions covered in visa-free stays in the bloc, which will mean greater costs for touring.

The Foreign Office is insisting Joao Vale de Almeida and his officials should not have the privileges and immunities afforded to diplomats under the Vienna Convention.

He said granting reciprocal treatment based on the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations is "standard practice" between equal partners and we are "confident that we can clear this issue with our friends in London in a satisfactory manner".

European Commission spokesman Peter Stano said the United Kingdom, which, as a member of the EU, was a signature to the Lisbon Treaty which established the European External Action Service diplomatic network, was "well aware of the EU's status in external relations".

As it stands, the ambassador would not have the chance to present his credentials to the Queen like other diplomatic heads of mission.

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