The Government has confirmed today that Ministers and official will no longer attend European Union meetings, unless there is a matter of international security or significant issue to the UK.
A spokesperson for the Government said:
“UK officials will stop attending most EU meetings from 1 September so that they can focus on our future relationship with the EU and other partners around the world.
The Government has decided this week that from 1 September, UK officials and Ministers will now only attend EU meetings where the UK has a significant national interest in the outcome of discussions, such as on security. This decision reflects the fact that the UK’s exit from the EU on 31 October is now very close and many of the discussions in EU meetings will be about the future of the Union after the UK has left.
As the PM has promised in the House of Commons in July, as a departing Member State it makes sense to ‘unshackle’ officials from these EU meetings to enable them to better focus their talents on our immediate national priorities. This includes, as the top priority, work on preparations for Brexit on 31 October and on our future relationship with the EU, but also on pioneering new trade deals and promoting a truly Global Britain.
This decision is not intended in any way to frustrate the functioning of the EU. The UK’s vote will be delegated in a way that does not obstruct the ongoing business of the remaining 27 EU members. Where matters of ongoing national interest are being discussed, the UK will continue to be present until 31 October.”