EUROPEAN UNION – New Consular Protection Rules Take Effect
Effective 1 May 2018, EU citizens who need assistance or advice while travelling or residing outside the EU, where there is no embassy or consulate from their own country (i.e., they are “unrepresented”), are entitled to seek help from the embassy or consulate of any other EU Member State.
An EU Directive (2015/637) establishing these rights was adopted in 2015 but has only just come into effect.
Unrepresented EU citizens are now entitled to receive consular protection under the same conditions as the nationals of that country, as long as they can prove their EU citizenship with a valid passport, identity card or other document.
The help that may be provided by embassies/consulates of (other) EU countries include assistance for example in cases of:
- serious accident or serious illness;
- arrest or detention;
- being a victim of crime;
- relief and repatriation in case of an emergency;
- need for an emergency travel document (ETD) (e.g., in case of loss or theft of passport).
Requests for emergency travel documents represent more than 60% of all cases of consular assistance to unrepresented citizens.