The EU’s ambassador to the US has been downgraded, it has been claimed, in a further sign of turbulent, transatlantic ties.
David O’Sullivan has dropped to the bottom of a US list of diplomatic precedence, according to MEP Marietje Schaake.
It means O’Sullivan will have less importance in Washington than ambassadors from other countries.
John Bruton, a former EU ambassador to the US sat down with Euronews correspondent Shona Murray in Brussels to discuss what what the downgrade means for EU-US relations.
"This upgrade only took place a very few years ago. We operated very well before that. Without having the upgrade. Now it appears the upgrade has been reversed," said Bruton.
"It doesn’t have any operational significance in terms of the work by the EU delegation in Washington; it doesn’t change it in the slightest."
"It does have a purely symbolic effect. I don’t think we should worry too much about that."
WTO and China
"Well I think it’s not good that we have a situation where the US administration is allowing the appointment of judges to the dispute panels of the World Trade Organisation," Bruton continued.
"There are problems with the existing WTO – the need to be renewed. To take account of the fact that one of the biggest players in world trade is China, which is not a conventional economy."
"The role of the state and the role of the Communist Party behind the scenes are very great in Chinese economic policy. And the WTO doesn’t have means of ensuring that doesn’t create unfair situations in trade."
"So the US is right in saying the WTO needs to be reformed, but its not right in the method its using to achieve that and the EU is seeking to put forward solutions to the problems raised by the United States."
President's Trump's ideologies
"I think he (US President Trump) comes from a sort of ideological stand point, which is against organisation like the European Union," said Bruton.
"He believes individual states should be completely sovereign and subject to no external rules at all, or no external courts at all," Bruton said.
"We reject that that point of view and we must challenge that point of view at every level. Intellectually as well as politically."