LONDON – Britain and the European Union should stop trying to score points in their post-Brexit relationship, the bloc’s ambassador to London said on Thursday, appealing for a more constructive approach to their increasingly thorny ties.
After completing its journey out of the EU at the end of last year, Britain’s relations with the bloc have soured over COVID vaccines and accusations from both sides that the other is acting in bad faith towards their Brexit and trade agreements.
On Wednesday, Britain summoned an EU diplomat to “correct” a comment by European Council President Charles Michel that Britain had “outright” banned exports of vaccines produced on its territory. Britain denies the charge.
Joao Vale de Almeida, who took up his role as ambassador in January last year when Britain left the bloc, tried to smooth the strained relations by underlining how much Britain and the EU had in common and how a reset could help future ties.
“I think we need to make an effort to change the mindset and give up on trying to score points on disputes of the past and focus ourselves on doing what we can do in making the most out of the agreements that we made,” told reporters.
“We need to have high levels of trust, mutual trust.”
But with the EU poised to launch legal action against Britain over its moves to smooth trade with Northern Ireland and London smarting over the bloc’s accusations on vaccines, many diplomats see a struggle ahead to restore that trust.