The EU and International Diplomatic Law: New Horizons?
Summary The European Union has a unique sui generis status on the international plane, which is reflected in its capability to enter into diplomatic relations with third states and international organizations. Over nearly six decades, the European Union (EU) has gradually built its own worldwide bilateral and multilateral diplomatic network, which is made subject — through specific agreements with the host country — to the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations. The ‘Union delegations’ are now operating as the diplomatic missions of the EU as a whole, in contrast to the former Commission delegations. This article examines the relationship between the EU and international diplomatic law. How does the EU establish and conduct diplomatic relations? What legal instruments are being used? How do the Vienna Convention and customary diplomatic law come into play? What is the exact legal status of EU ambassadors and diplomatic staff? By critically analysing these issues, this article assesses the specific contribution the EU makes to the further development of international diplomatic law.