The Trump administration has downgraded the status of the EU diplomatic representation in Washington without informing it, the German Deutsche Welle (DW) radio station reported on Tuesday. The European Commission was unable to confirm or deny the report when asked about it. “There have been recent changes in the way in which diplomatic directives are applied by American protocol,” a spokeswoman explained. “We are in contact with the American administration to see the implications this could have for our representation.”
According to DW, the rank of the EU representation in Washington had been lowered to that of an international organisation. The representation reportedly became aware of this after noticing that the EU ambassador to Washington was no longer invited to certain events at the end of last year. This was reportedly confirmed with regard to the national funeral of President George H.W. Bush.
An EU diplomat quoted by the German radio saw this as an act of political defiance towards the EU after the Union’s status was upgraded in September 2016 under the Obama presidency.
Asked by DW, the U.S. State Department did not answer, saying that its press service was functioning on a reduced service because of the U.S. government shutdown.