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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 VIII: Consular Protection by the European Union

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CHAPTER VIII

Consular Protection by the European Union

1.  Political and Legal Background of the Consolidation of the EU Action Abroad

The fact that the right to consular protection addresses not directly the Union institutions but the Member States has been put forward criticising the lack of a direct link with the Union institutions themselves. In this regard it should be mentioned that a new concept of consular protection provided directly by the European Union has become relevant with the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty and in particular with the creation of a European External Action Service (EEAS).

The EEAS was created to assist the new High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and is under his authority.1 Under the Lisbon Treaty, the EEAS should be constituted from “relevant departments” of the Commission and the Council’s General Secretariat, plus staff seconded from the diplomatic services of the Member States.2 In bringing together staff from the Commission and the Council, the EEAS – like the new High Representative – connects the EU’s “Community” and intergovernmental elements.

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