The UK has three diplomatic Missions in Brussels: the bilateral Embassy to Belgium; the UK Permanent Representation to the European Union (UKRep); and the UK Delegation to NATO. All employ British civil servants, alongside locally recruited staff. The civil servants normally serve fixed tour lengths of between 1-4 years. In addition, there are British civil servants working in Brussels at the Scottish Government EU Office, the Welsh Government EU Office, for Border Force at Gare du Midi Eurostar, and on secondment to the EU Institutions, NATO and the World Customs Organisation.
The table below provides the number of FCO UK-based staff in Brussels each year since 2013. These statistics do not include locally recruited staff, staff in Brussels funded by other Government Departments, nor the Scottish or Welsh Governments. Up until 1st April 2015, Department of Trade staff (former UKTI) were included in FCO staff headcount. We are unable to provide headcount information prior to 2013 as the FCO revised its approach to recording staff headcount in December 2012, adopting a new methodology in line with Office for National Statistics guidelines.
FCO UK-based staff in Brussels
After the UK leaves the EU, the UK will retain its three diplomatic Missions in Brussels, although UKRep will become a third country Mission to the EU. We expect their overall headcount to increase marginally. This reflects both our desire for a future close relationship with the EU and our increased focus on the bilateral relationship with Belgium when we are no longer an EU Member State.
We do not expect to have any secondees in the EU Institutions immediately after the UK leaves the EU but, in line with the Political Declaration setting out the framework for the future relationship between the EU and UK, we will seek to agree arrangements for the secondment of experts where appropriate and in our mutual interest. In January 2010 the UK had 92 seconded national experts to the EU; we currently have 36 in Brussels, plus a further 10 who are taking part in the National Experts in Professional Training programme. There are also currently 7 British civil servants seconded to NATO and one to the World Customs Organisation (WCO), all based in Brussels.