Monday, 10 May 2021

Sir Tim Barrow: UK’s new ambassador to EU ‘tough negotiator’

LONDON: Senior diplomat Sir Tim Barrow has been appointed the UK’s new ambassador to the EU, replacing Sir Ivan Rogers. Downing Street described the former ambassador to Russia, who will now play a key role in the UK’s Brexit talks, as a “seasoned and tough negotiator”. Sir Ivan, whose exit came earlier than planned, sparked a row after his resignation note criticised “muddled thinking” from ministers. Some MPs had accused him of being “half-hearted” towards Brexit. Critics of the outgoing ambassador were accused of trying to “politicise” the civil service, with a trade union saying there was a “deafening silence” from ministers in defending officials’ independence. Sir Tim, who was the UK’s ambassador in Moscow from 2011 to 2015, has also advised a succession of foreign secretaries as well as holding other roles in the UK’s EU mission.

Sir Tim said he was “honoured” to be appointed to the role, officially called the UK’s permanent representative to the EU, adding that he would ensure “the right outcome” for the UK after Brexit. Downing Street said Sir Tim had “extensive experience of securing UK objectives in Brussels” and would “bring his trademark energy and creativity to this job”. Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and Brexit Secretary David Davis both welcomed the appointment and Tom Fletcher, a former UK ambassador to Lebanon, “It’s the toughest negotiation in our lifetimes and I think he is up to it. I have seen him in Brussels. He knows the corridors, he knows the characters. “But actually more importantly I saw him in Moscow where he was incredibly resilient as ambassador there, dealing with (Vladimir) Putin in a very testing time in our relationship and Tim had a reputation of being bulletproof out there.” But former UKIP leader Nigel Farage was less enthusiastic, tweeting: “Good to see that the government have replaced a knighted career diplomat with… a knighted career diplomat.”

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