US bumps EU diplomatic status back up after downgrade
The U.S. will again recognize the EU’s representation in Washington as equal to national ambassadors, after its diplomatic status was downgraded last year. Politico reports in its article US bumps EU diplomatic status back up after downgrade that the U.S. State Department said Monday that “effective immediately,” it will recognize “the European Union’s representation in Washington as equivalent to that of a bilateral mission in the Diplomatic Corps Order of Precedence.”
Last October the Trump administration had reversed an Obama-era change and started ranking the EU’s ambassador to Washington the same as envoys from international organizations, who fall into a secondary category on the protocol list.
The downgrade came amid a low point in transatlantic relations and led to confusion among European officials, as well as outcry from Democrats in the U.S. Congress and members of the European Parliament. The EU said at the time it had not been alerted to the change; however, there is no formal mechanism for communicating such adjustments.
The State Department announced the reinstatement of the mission’s former status in a statement welcoming the EU’s new ambassador to Washington, Stavros Lambrinidis, whose predecessor left as part of the regular rotation of diplomats.
Without providing a reason for the prior downgrade, U.S. Ambassador to the EU Gordon Sondland said in the statement that the EU "is a uniquely important organization, and one of America’s most valuable partners in ensuring global security and prosperity. “Europe’s security and success are inextricably linked to that of the United States, and this level of engagement and cooperation should be recognized appropriately in all settings,” he added.