Susanna Siddell

Brexit and the EU this week: From Reminiscence to Rows - 22nd January 2021

Almost a year after the UK packed their bags and waved goodbye to the EU on the 31st January 2020, many individuals across Europe are now beginning to feel the consequences of the break-up after the transition period ended on the 31st December…

Image: Habib Ayoade from Unsplash

English MEPs brought “real spice”

None more so than David McAllister it seems, a German MEP who misses the “real spice” that UK MEPs brought to the table during political debates. Mr McAllister said that he missed the dry wit, irony and sarcasm that his former British colleagues displayed in the European Parliament, saying that the debates are duller now without as many native English speakers. He said: “The British MEPs were always at a huge advantage in an open debate because they simply have a better command of the English language.”

UK and EU row over diplomatic status of ambassador

Yet, reminiscing on the good old times in the European Parliament has failed to prevent a diplomatic row breaking out between the UK and the EU regarding the diplomatic status of Joao Vale de Almeida, the organisation’s London ambassador. The issue arose when the Foreign Office refused to give the ambassador the same status as other ambassadors had been given. If the Government granted the same status, it would set the precedent of treating the EU just as any other nation state, despite being a supranational entity. The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office explained that they wish to regard EU diplomats as representatives of a transnational body, without the same protection under the Vienna Convention. Yet, 142 other countries grant all ambassadors identical status, whether they are representing an individual nation or not. EU foreign ministers are set to discuss this topic next Monday in their first meeting following the end of the UK’s transition period.

Seafood exporters protest near Downing St.

This week, seafood companies yet again bore the brunt of delays at the EU border as they remained unable to export fresh fish and seafood to Europe from the start of the new year. The delays have come as a result of the new, more rigorous border controls that require catch certificates, customs declarations and health checks, which lengthen the process for exporters.  On Monday, keen to express their dissatisfaction with the new rules, more than 20 lorry drivers (many of whom from Scottish seafood exporters) parked up near Downing Street along Whitehall, with slogans slapped across the vehicles, one reading “Incompetent Government Destroying Shellfish Industry!” In response, the Prime Minister has said that a compensation fund of £23 million is to be set in place for those with a genuine European buyer for seafood companies across the UK.

Image: NOAA from Unsplash