N. Peter Kramer’s Weekly Column
The EU border authorities confiscated English trucker’s homemade bacon sandwiches, completely in accordance with the post-Brexit rules! Free import of food from third countries into the EU is not allowed. UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab wants to treat EU diplomats as representatives of an international organisation. That is also correct, the EU is not a nation-state but a cooperation between 27 countries. The UK’s chief Brexit negotiator, David Frost, referred to the EU as ‘your organisation’ when speaking to his EU counterpart Michel Barnier. A year ago the UK told the European Commission it would not be entitled to have a full-dress representation in Northern Ireland after Brexit.
But what is the real problem? Well, unlike hard-working truckers who love to eat their homemade sandwiches, diplomats want status in line with the Vienna Convention. Without the full protection of this convention diplomats do not benefit from immunity from detention, criminal jurisdiction and taxation. The EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs, Josep Borrell, has sent a letter to Dominic Raab with ‘serious concerns’. ‘The arrangements offered do not reflect the special character of the EU, nor do they respond to the future relationship between the EU and the UK as an important third country’.
‘Exactly 142 countries have given EU ambassadors full diplomatic status’, wrote a pro-EU website. That is true. But my grandmother once taught me: when everybody jumps in the water, it does not mean you have to do it too …