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Minister-delegate Negrescu welcomes the entry into force of consular protection for unrepresented EU citizens

Victor Negrescu

Minister-delegate for European Affairs Victor Negrescu welcomes the entry into force on May 1, 2018 of the directive on the coordination and cooperation measures to facilitate consular protection for unrepresented citizens of the Union in third countries, according to a press statement released by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MAE) on Tuesday. 

"This directive strengthens citizens' rights and acts in a spirit of solidarity, an elementary value of the European construction. Millions of Romanian citizens travel yearly or even spend long periods abroad and it is important to know that they can capitalise on Romania's membership of the European Union and that there are demarches that can help overcome many unpredictable and unforeseeable situations. From now on, any Romanian living or travelling outside the European Union will be able to enjoy the protection of the consular authorities of any member state," Negrescu is quoted as saying in the press statement. 

The document establishes when and how European Union citizens in difficulty in a third country have the right to enjoy the protection of embassies or consulates of other states in the community if their own country is not represented. 

According to the cited document, other EU countries must offer unrepresented European citizens the same assistance they would provide to their own nationals, in the following situations: death; a serious accident or serious illness; arrest or detention; being a victim of crime; relief and repatriation in case of an emergency. 

The country of origin of the European Union citizens will always be consulted by the state from which the citizen seeks help and may at any time decide to take care of their own citizens, even when there is no embassy or consulate in the country concerned (for example, by providing information on the phone, contacting family or friends, or through online consular services). 

Citizens can be reassigned from one embassy to another because the EU countries present in that state can agree locally who has to take care of who, in order to ensure effective protection for citizens of the European Union. Applicants can obtain information on available assistance and any arrangements in force between consulates by contacting the EU Delegation in the country concerned. 

The Treaties of the European Union guarantee to all citizens of the member states the right to equal treatment with regard to diplomatic and consular protection of any country in the community when travelling or living outside the union and their state of origin is not represented. 

Under the previous legal regime, the countries of the European Union had to establish among themselves the necessary rules. 

EU Council Directive 2015/637 repeals Decision 95/553 / EC from 1 May 2018, with the aim of further facilitating cooperation and coordination between consular authorities and strengthening European citizens' right to consular protection

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