US raises EU diplomatic status months after downgrade
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US raises EU diplomatic status months after downgrade

The State Department issued a statement announcing the decision while also welcoming the EU’s new US ambassador, Stavros Lambrinidis, on Monday. The EU "is a uniquely important organization, and one of America’s most valuable partners in ensuring global security and prosperity," said US Ambassador to the EU Gordon Sondland in the statement. “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. No reason for the prior downgrade was given in Monday's statement. The US lowered the EU mission's diplomatic status to that of a secondary status reserved for international organizations last year. The EU was, however, never notified of the change. It was only after an EU diplomat noticed a change in protocol during the December 5 funeral of former US President George H.W. Bush that EU officials learned of the new measure. The unannounced decision did, however, confuse European officials as the downgrading came amid a low in transatlantic relations. Under Trump, the US has sparred with the EU on a number of issues, including tariffs, the Iran nuclear agreement and support for the Paris climate accord. In a speech in Brussels in December, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo questioned the EU’s commitment to its citizens, drawing a rare rejection from the European Commission, the bloc’s executive branch.

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