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Multilevel Citizenship

The Right to Consular Protection of EU Citizens Abroad

Eva-Maria Poptcheva

This book is the first monograph on one of the least studied and most controversial European Union citizenship rights. Despite the importance of consular protection in a globalised world, many EU Member States are reluctant to recognise consular protection for EU citizens abroad as a right, leading to a protracted struggle to place the right to consular protection on a solid legal basis through a directive.
This book examines the right to consular protection as an illustrative case in the debate over a multilevel design of EU citizenship combining rules from several different legal systems, whose interplay is reinforced by the extra-territorial character of consular protection.
It offers a comparative analysis of the provision of consular protection in the 28 EU Member States as well as of the respective international law and EU rules. By examining the right to consular protection in its constitutional setting as a right flowing from EU citizenship, the book frames the analysis of all EU citizenship rights as fundamental rights in a multilevel-governance context.
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Chapter III: Multilevel Citizenship as a Source of Fundamental Rights



Multilevel Citizenship as a Source of Fundamental Rights

1.  Framing the Issue

The particularity of the EU provisions on consular protection is evidenced not only by its extraterritorial character producing effects beyond the borders of the European Union but also by its complex legal design that has been subjected to thorough discussions in the scholarship and by stakeholders. Not even the wording of Article 23 TFEU contains a clear and incontrovertible evidence of the legal character of the provision of consular protection to Union citizens abroad – namely, Article 23 TFEU does not mention the notion “right” but stipulates that EU citizens are “entitled” to consular protection. The look at other linguistic versions of the Article proves that apparently the Member States have consciously avoided to expressly stating that there is a “right” to consular protection. The French version of Article 23 TFEU for instance uses the notion “bénéficie”:

Tout citoyen de l’Union bénéficie, sur le territoire d’un pays tiers où l’État membre dont il est ressortissant n’est pas représenté, de la protection de la part des autorités diplomatiques et consulaires de tout État membre, dans les mêmes conditions que les nationaux de cet État.

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