Proposal to make access to emergency travel documents faster and more secure for EU citizens
The European Commission said on May 31 that it was proposing to update the rules on EU emergency travel documents and improve their security features.
Since 1996, EU rules exist that allow EU citizens, whose passport or travel documents were stolen or lost while travelling abroad to obtain temporary travel documents.
Lost or stolen passports make up more than 60 per cent of the cases of consular assistance, the European Commission said.
“However, the current emergency travel documents do not meet modern security standards and offer little protection against fraud and counterfeit. As a result, some third countries are reluctant to accept them and some member states have stopped using them for their own citizens.”
Věra Jourová, Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality said: “Losing your passport or getting it stolen is a distressing experience, especially if you are travelling outside of the EU.
“When this happens, EU citizens are entitled to getting temporary emergency documents. However, their current format does not live up to our current security standards. The new security features we proposed for emergency travel documents will prevent criminals from counterfeiting them or using them to carry out criminal activities.
“Thanks to these new rules, all EU citizens will feel safe and able to return home as fast as possible,” Jourová said.
With the new rules in place, the new EU emergency travel documents will be more secure, as they will have machine-readable features, the Commission said.
Their user-friendly format will include a space for any necessary transit visa and they should be issued within three to four days.
“In addition, the new directive will improve the consular assistance available to all EU citizens, even where their country doesn’t have an embassy or a consulate,” the Commission said.
It will now be mandatory for embassies or consulates to issue EU emergency travel documents to unrepresented EU citizens, the statement said.
(Photo: (c) Clive Leviev-Sawyer)