Consular Law

International Legal Research

Information about Consular Law in free legal resources:

Treaties & Agreements

International Organizations

Jurisprudence $ Commentary

European Union

IP Law

Consular Law

International Multilateral Conventions

  • Council of Europe – Agreement on the Transfer of Corpses – 26/10/1973
  • Council of Europe – European Convention on the Abolition of Legalisation of Documents executed by Diplomatic Agents or Consular Officers – 7.6.1968
  • EUROPEAN CONVENTION ON CONSULAR FUNCTIONS – 11.12.1967
  • Vienna Convention on Consular Relations – 24 April 1963
  • Optional Protocol to the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations concerning the Compulsory Settlement of Disputes – 24.4.1963
  • International agreement concerning the conveyance of corpses – 10.2.1937

European Consular Law

The Green Paper “Diplomatic and consular protection of Union citizens in third countries” presented by the Commission in 2006 focuses on the right established in Article 20 of the EC Treaty [now Article 23 TFEU]. Under this Article, if a citizen of the Union is in a third country in which the Member State of which he is a national does not have an embassy or a consular post, he is entitled to protection by the authorities of any Member State represented on the spot, on the same conditions as the nationals of that State.

In this document the European Commission sets out ideas to be considered for strengthening this right, pointing out that European citizens are not fully aware of this right whose legal consequences are far from being fully implemented by the Member States.

With the publication of the Green Paper the Commission launched a wide public consultation on this issue. In the Action Plan 2007-2009 “Effective consular protection in third countries: the contribution of the European Union”, the Commission states that it emerged during the public consultation that the extent of consular protection varies between Member States. Discrepancies may deprive Article 20 TEC of its full effect. The Commission later examined Member States’ legislations and practices on consular protection and assess the extent and nature of these discrepancies.

On 29 May 2007, the European Commission organised a public hearing on the Green Paper on diplomatic and consular protection of Union citizens in third countries. The hearing, which was open to all interested parties, was an opportunity to launch an interesting debate on the issue.
The public hearing was structured around the four main themes developed by the Commission in its Green Paper, namely:

  • The information of citizens of the Union on their right to diplomatic and consular protection;
  • The scope of protection for citizens;
  • The structures and resources required and the need for clear burden-sharing rules, and
  • The consent of third country authorities

European Union Documentation

  • Decision 96/409/CSFP: Decision of the Representatives of the Governments of the Member States, meeting within the Council of 25 June 1996 on the establishment of an emergency travel document
  • European Union guidelines on the implementation of the consular Lead State concept (2008)
  • Commission Action Plan 2007-2009 – Working document
  • Commission staff working document – Accompanying document to the Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council and the European Economic and Social Committee – Effective consular protection in third countries: the contribution of the European Union – Action Plan 2007-2009 – Summary of the Impact Assessment, doc. SEC(2007)1601
  • Commission Action Plan 2007-2009 – Working document
  • Commission staff working document – Accompanying document to the Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council and the European Economic and Social Committee – Effective consular protection in third countries: the contribution of the European Union – Action Plan 2007-2009 – Impact Assessment, doc. SEC(2007)1600
  • Commission Action Plan 2007-2009: Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions – Effective consular protection in third countries: the contribution of the European Union – Action Plan 2007-2009, doc. COM(2007)767, final
  • European Parliament – Report on the Green Paper: European Parliament – Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs, Report on the Green Paper: Diplomatic and consular protection of Union citizens in third countries (22 November 2007), Rapporteur: Ioannis Varvitsiotis
  • European Parliament – Working document on the Green Paper. European Parliament – Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs, Working document on diplomatic and consular protection for citizens of the Union in third countries (13 June 2007), Rapporteur: Ioannis Varvitsiotis
  • Summary report of Public hearing of 29 May 2007 (see above)
  • Opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee on the Green Paper: Opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee on the Green Paper on diplomatic and consular protection of Union citizens in third countries COM(2006) 712 final
  • Commission Green Paper on Diplomatic and consular protection: Green Paper – Diplomatic and consular protection of Union citizens in third countries, doc. COM(2006)712 final
  • Flash Eurobarometer, Consular Protection – Analytical Report (July 2006)
  • Decision 95/553: Decision of the Representatives of the Governments of the Member States meeting within the Council of 19 December 1995 regarding protection for citizens of the European Union by diplomatic and consular representations.

European Court of Human Rights Cases

The main decisions are:
W.M. v. Denmark – 17392/90 – 14.10.1992
X v. the United Kingdom – 7547/76 – 15.12.1977

Insufficiencies of implementation

ERICH SCHWEIGHOFER writes (“Informatica e diritto”, Vol. XIX, 2010, n. 1-2, pp. 253-262):

“Article 23 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union
(TFEU) gives every citizen of the Union the right to consular and diplomatic
protection if his or her Member State is not represented in a specific
third country. Whichever mission (of another EU member state) the EU
citizen ends up asking for support, the mission has to provide support on
the same conditions as for their own nationals.

Article 46 of the Charta on Human Rights lays down the same right. The
Green Paper “Diplomatic and consular protection of Union citizens in third
countries”, presented by the Commission in 2006, focuses on strengthening
this right: In it, the European Commission points out that European citizens
are not fully aware of this right, and that the legal consequences of it are
far from being fully implemented by the Member States. After the consultation
phase of the Green Paper, the Action Plan 2007-2009 “Effective consular
protection in third countries: the contribution of the European Union” was
adopted. One important measure is the examination of Member States’ legislations
and practices on consular protection and the assessment of the extent
and nature of the observed discrepancies between Member States. (…)

From a legal point of view, significant insufficiencies of implementation
of Article 23 TFEU exist, in particular concerning legal frame-work, standards
of legal rules, reimbursement etc. These problems are solved in practice
with a pragmatic implementation.”

Leave a Comment