North West MEP Sajjad Karim has said the creation of over 50 new EU embassies across the world following the Lisbon Treaty coming into force at the beginning of the year should not come at the expense of British interests.
The embassies will take over national bilateral missions in the 54 countries where they are established; leading to concerns that further power will be taken away from the British Foreign Office and shifted to a new EU diplomatic service. Many citizens from the North West are worried this shift could spell the closure of British overseas embassies and lead to the further centralisation of power to the EU.
Mr Karim said that the creation of new EU embassies should not be at the detriment of the service quality currently offered by the British Foreign Office and British embassies should be retained in their current form.
Speaking from Manchester, Mr Karim said, “The effects of the Lisbon Treaty and the centralisation of EU powers should exist to improve, not damage, our national representation throughout the world. A ‘one size fits all’ EU embassy cannot favour one member state over another and I want Britain to be at the front of the queue.
“It is vital that, under these proposals, citizens from the North West travelling abroad must still have the same access to a British embassy and not be competing for the time of diplomats along with citizens from the other EU states.”
He added that the creation of the new EU embassies, “Should be seen as an opportunity for British interests to be put at the forefront of the world stage”