ALDE MEP Sarah Ludford (Liberal Democrat, UK), member of the Civil liberties Committee commenting today’s European Commission proposal to reinforce citizens’ rights to consular protection and assistance in third countries said: “EU citizens make 80 million trips a year outside the EU so this really is important not just for crises such as in Libya but also for more day-to-day issues such as lost passports. It’s not only the travelling public who need educating about this EU right, but also – rather shockingly – consular staff. It would be an important step forward for all EU states to put a sentence about it in passports.”

“Since EU states have failed to make this fully operational through their own efforts, the Commission is right to envisage enshrining the details of the legal obligation and pooling of resources in new legislation. The concept of ‘EU citizenship’ must mean no EU citizen should ever be left behind.” Ludford concluded.

neyts90.jpg”It is especially in cases of an emergency that the EU must show it is present and ready to assist and protect its citizens, if we want them to believe in it.” said MEP Annemie NEYTS-UYTTEBROECK (OpenVld, Belgium), ALDE coordinator in the Foreign Affairs Committee, welcoming today’s commission proposal. “We cannot allow for repeats of cases like the Mumbai attack in December 2008 where a lack of coordination among EU Member States emerged when rescuing their citizens, especially to the disadvantage of those who did not have any consular representation in the country.”

“European citizenship was a cornerstone to recognise our common European identity apart from the national one and to provide a second layer of protection when Europeans travel or live in third countries. Therefore the proposal of the Commission to foster awareness of this right among EU citizens and consular/embassy representations can only be applauded.” she concluded.