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EU in talks with US over embassy 'downgrade'

AFP  |  Brussels 

The said Tuesday it is in talks with US officials after reportedly "downgraded" the bloc's embassy in Washington, in the latest blow to transatlantic relations.

The lowered the EU mission's diplomatic status from member state to international organisation late last year, according to a report by German broadcaster

The move apparently only came to light when the EU in did not receive an invitation to the funeral of former US in December, DW reported.

"We understand that there was a recent change in the way the diplomatic precedence list is implemented by the United States' Protocol," Maja Kocijancic, for the European Commission's diplomatic service, told AFP in an email.

"We are discussing with the relevant services in the administration possible implications for the EU Delegation in "

Kocijancic confirmed the EU was not notified of the change and said the bloc expected "the diplomatic practice established some years ago to be observed".

The comes at a sensitive moment for EU-US relations, with the bloc's top on her way to to try to breathe life into efforts to strike a trade deal and calm raging commercial tensions.

Officials in hope Malmstrom's talks with Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer will persuade Trump away from slapping 25 per cent tariffs on European car imports, that would mostly affect and possibly spark a trade war.

Under Trump, Europe's once solid relationship with the US has deteriorated and last year Washington put tariffs on and aluminium from the EU and other partners.

And last month used a major policy speech in to take aim at the bloc, saying Britain's Brexit vote had raised valid questions about whether the EU was putting the interests of bureaucrats ahead of those of citizens.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, January 08 2019. 18:30 IST