Rules guaranteeing EU citizens assistance from any EU consulate enter into force on May 1

As of May 1 2018, European Union citizens living or travelling outside the EU will be able to better benefit from consular protection in case of need, when their EU country of origin is not represented in the non-EU country they are staying in, the European Commission said.

The updated rules allow EU citizens in distress in a non-EU country to get assistance from any EU embassy or consulate. The rules entering into force tomorrow also specify how Member States should cooperate on common contingency plans so that unrepresented EU citizens get protection in the event of a crisis or a natural disaster.

Commissioner Vĕra Jourová, Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality, said: “Almost seven million EU citizens travel or live outside the EU in countries where their own member state does not have an embassy or consulate.

“As of tomorrow we ensure that all EU citizens are treated equally when they need urgent assistance outside of our Union. The new rules reinforce citizens’ rights and are a strong sign of European solidarity,” Jourová said.

Besides assistance in times of crisis, EU citizens can also benefit from requesting consular protection in case of serious illness, when being victim of a crime, when arrested or in cases of passport loss or theft when abroad.

Requests for emergency travel documents represent more than 60 per cent of all cases of consular assistance to unrepresented citizens.

The Commission will work closely with those member states who have not finalised transposition yet to make sure the important new rules are implemented swiftly, the April 30 statement said.

On April 11, Bulgaria’s Cabinet agreed that citizens of the EU in countries outside the EU will be able to approach the Bulgarian embassy or consulate for assistance if their own country does not have diplomatic representation there.

(Photo: Clive Leviev-Sawyer)



The Sofia Globe staff

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