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Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship

Commission reinforces citizens' rights to consular protection abroad

Viviane Reding © EU

During times of emergencies and crisis, such as in Japan, Libya or Bahrain, EU citizens abroad can ask for consular protection from any EU Member State. When their country is not represented, the EU Member State they turn to has to assist them as if they were its own nationals. This right is a key part of EU citizenship. Citizens should be able to enjoy their rights in full.

However, this entitlement is not well known. The European Commission therefore plans to step up awareness in a policy Communication next week. The Communication will give a state of play on the right to consular protection in third countries and set out the way forward.

The Commission intends to step up awareness-raising regarding this right in a targeted manner and to propose measures to ease the day-to-day consular protection for unrepresented EU citizens in 12 months time. These proposals will also deal with financial compensation of consular protection in crisis situations.

The Commission will also launch a website that will describe citizens’ rights and include travel advice, emergency numbers and addresses of EU Member States diplomatic missions.