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Consular Assistance and Protection: An EU Perspective

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Article 20 (EC) is the first tangible expression of EU citizenship. By developing 'universal' consular protection, EU member states strive to reach two objectives: making sure that no one is left unprotected; and sharing the burden of assistance, especially in remote areas. This, however, is no easy feat, as member states are ultimately responsible for protecting and assisting their citizens. Recent events, such as the Indian Ocean tsunami or the mass evacuation from Lebanon, have proved that cooperation is the only way ahead, since no consular network can cope on its own with situations such as these. The question, then, is how to allow European consular cooperation to fulfil all of its promises without diminishing the effectiveness and perception of national responsibilities.

Affiliations: 1: Head of Unit, Joint European Situation Centre, Council of the European Union, Rue de la Loi 175, B-1048 Brussels, Belgium


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