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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 IX: Proposal for a Directive on Consular Protection



Proposal for a Directive on Consular Protection

1.  Legal Basis and Procedure for the Adoption of a Directive on Consular Protection

OKANO-HEIJMANNS described the European Commission’s intention to “raise the European profile” of consular protection provided to unrepresented Union citizens abroad, outlined in the Commission’s Green Paper in 2006,1 as “a bold and somewhat premature conclusion that may be more representative of the Commission’s aspirations than of EU citizens’ wishes”.2 Admittedly, the lack of awareness of Union citizens in 2006 of the existence of a right to consular protection for unrepresented Union citizens does not by itself lead to a legislative legitimation on the part of the Union in this field. Nonetheless, the efforts made both by the European Commission and the Member States to inform Union citizens on the possibilities offered by Article 23 TFEU, seem to have borne fruits so that in the meanwhile an average of 79% of the Union citizens is deemed to be aware of the existence of the right to consular protection under Union of that right.3 Remarkable is also in this context that Union citizens express their understanding of the right to consular protection as a right to obtain the same level of help regardless of which Member State’s consulate they turn to (62% of the inquired Union citizens).4 These high expectations of the Union citizens with regard to the right to consular protection do justify a certain urge on the part...

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