Stop giggling at the back

One would have to have a heart of stone to not find this amusing.

The unannounced move by the US State Department, which has not previously been reported, downgraded the EU delegation’s diplomatic status in Washington from member state to international organization.

Excellent.

“We don’t exactly know when they did it, because they conveniently forgot to notify us,” an EU official who is familiar with the matter told DW in an interview.

“I can confirm that this has not been well received in Brussels,” the person said, adding that the issue and an official EU response was still being discussed. Meanwhile EU officials in Brussels said on Tuesday that per protocol, the diplomatic rank of David O’Sullivan, the EU’s ambassador to Washington, had been reinstated.  

Not well received in Brussels” must be one of the least intimidating phrases known in the English language.

It reminds me of that classic line from Dennis Healey, “I must say that part of his speech was rather like being savaged by a dead sheep.”

‘Forgot to notify us’

A Washington-based diplomat of an EU member state also confirmed the downgrade, and denounced the move.

“This is clearly not simply a protocol issue, but this is something that has a very obvious political motive,” the person said. The diplomat added that the negative view of the EU mission downgrade was shared by the majority of member states.

After discovering the downgrade, EU diplomats in Washington reached out to the State Department, which is responsible for diplomatic affairs, for clarification. “They have told us that they forgot to notify us and that this is a decision they have taken because that is apparently what the chief of protocol thinks is the proper thing to do,” the person said.

That’s the thing about invites, surely; you don’t tend to get notified when they are not offered.

Bill’s Opinion

Once I was a young man

All I thought I had to do was smile

While you are still a young girl

And you bought everything in style

So once you think you’re in you’re out

‘Cause you don’t mean a single thing without

The handbags and the gladrags

That your poor old Granddad had to sweat to buy you

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