(The “New World Odor” Marches On…) EU ambassador: I’ll speak for Britain in America
New EU ambassador in Washington claims transatlantic authority
The new European Union ambassador to Washington has suggested that he will speak for Britain on foreign and security policy in America.
By James Kirkup and Robert Winnett
12 Aug 2010
Joao Vale de Almeida was this week formally installed as the EU’s ambassador to the US, and suggested that American officials should regard him as their first point of contact for transatlantic discussions.
He is the first EU ambassador to be appointed after the controversial Lisbon Treaty gave the EU sweeping new powers.
The new ambassador claimed to now be “leading the show” among European representatives in Washington.
The prospect of an EU official speaking for the UK to its most important ally has angered eurosceptics, who said it shows Britain’s waning influence.
Mr Vale de Almeida’s comments are also likely to alarm Sir Nigel Sheinwald, the British ambassador in Washington. Sir Nigel is thought to have struggled to build strong relations with the White House after a memorandum he wrote for Gordon Brown questioning Barack Obama’s experience was leaked in 2008.
Earlier this week, The Daily Telegraph disclosed that the Ministry of Defence had hired Washington-based lobbyists to supplement British Embassy staff.