The Department for Exiting the European Union has announced that from 1 September 2019 UK officials will stop attending most EU meetings.

Unless the meeting has significant national interest for the UK; for example, security, the UK won’t attend the meeting. This is so that “they can focus on our future relationship with the EU and other partners around the world”.

Secretary of State Steve Barclay said:

“An incredible amount of time and effort goes into EU meetings with attendance just the tip of the iceberg. Our diligent, world-class officials also spend many hours preparing for them whether in reading the necessary papers or working on briefings.

“From now on we will only go to the meetings that really matter, reducing attendance by over half and saving hundreds of hours. This will free up time for Ministers and their officials to get on with preparing for our departure on October 31 and seizing the opportunities that lie ahead.”

Further information provided by the Department for Exiting the European Union:

  • As a Member State the UK is allowed to send a representative to a variety of EU meetings. These representatives can be Government Ministers or officials.

  • The UK has decided that we do not need representation at all of these meetings, especially where the subject is the future of the EU after we have left.

  • The UK will continue to attend if and when it is in our interests, with particular regard to meetings on UK exit, sovereignty, international relations, security, or finance and the Prime Minister will attend European Council.

  • Decisions will be made on a case by case basis depending on the agendas of the meetings. This provides the right amount of flexibility to ensure UK interests remain protected.

Last reviewed 5 September 2019