British diplomats to pull from EU’s institutional structures within days

epa07010544 The British (L) and the EU (R) flags fly in London, Britain, 10 September 2018. 10 September 2018 marks 200 days to go until the United Kingdom formally leaves the European Union, dubbed Brexit. EPA-EFE/NEIL HALL

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British diplomats will pull out from the EU’s institutional structures of power in Brussels within days under plans being drawn up by Downing Street.

In an attempt to reinforce the message that the UK is leaving the EU by 31 October, “do or die”, the UK will stop attending the day-to-day meetings that inform the bloc’s decision-making.

The move under discussion is said by UK officials to be in line with Boris Johnson’s first statement in the House of Commons, in which he said he would “unshackle” British diplomacy from EU affairs.

Critics have countered that the symbolic walkout would merely leave the UK blindsided by decisions and ultimately damage the national interest.

EU working group meetings at which British diplomats were expected to take their seats alongside the other 27 member states will deal with issues on security, the panEuropean response to any future crises involving civilians, foreign affairs and the protection of consumers.

It is unclear how far the UK’s withdrawal from the EU structures would go before 31 October, and whether ministers or the UK’s permanent representative in the EU would ultimately fail to show up for meetings in September and October.

The foreign secretary, Dominic Raab, said he would attend a meeting of his EU counterparts at the end of this month in Helsinki.

Via The Guardian Print Edition

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