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3 May, 2015

EU adopts consular protection rules for European citizens abroad

BRUSSELS, April 20 (Xinhua) — The European Union (EU) on Monday adopted a directive on consular protection for European citizens living or travelling outside the EU.

The agreement clarifies when and how EU citizens in distress in a country outside the EU have the right to receive assistance from other EU countries’ embassies or consulates.

The aim is to ease cooperation between consular authorities and strengthen European citizens’ right to consular protection, the European Commission said in a press release.

Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the European External Action Service and Vice President of the European Commission, said the directive “represents an important step in consular cooperation within the EU.”

“The Directive reinforces citizens’ right to equal consular protection and contributes to increasing European solidarity in third countries. It lays down clear and simple rules on how member states should coordinate and cooperate among themselves and with the Union delegations,” said Vera Jourova, EU Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality.

Almost 7 million EU citizens travel or live outside the EU in places where their own EU country does not have an embassy or consulate. The only four countries where all 28 EU countries are represented are the United States, China, India and Russia, according to the press release.