EU citizens travelling in third countries are not on their own

Speaking at a Hearing organised by the European Commission on 29 May 2007, ECTAA expressed strong support for the European Commission’s intentions to enhance information and protection of Union citizens who travel in third countries where their Member State is not represented. Few EU citizens know that when they are travelling to a third country in which their Member State does not have an embassy or a consular post, they are entitled to consular protection by the authorities of any Member State represented on the spot, on the same conditions as the nationals of that State. That protection may be claimed, among others, in case of arrest or detention, accident or serious illness or death, or a crisis leaving EU citizens in distress and requiring assistance and repatriation.

With this in mind ECTAA Members have agreed to participate in an information campaign launched by the European Commission to inform EU citizens of their right to consular protection. This information campaign takes the form of a poster which can be displayed in their offices and/or their websites.

The information campaign is just one of the measures proposed by the European Commission to strengthen the rights of Union citizens to Community consular protection. ECTAA strongly supports the various actions proposed by the European Commission in the field of information and assistance to travellers and in particular:

  • The setting up of a comprehensive and regularly updated database of the contact details of embassies and consulates of the Member States in each third country, which should be easily accessible not only on the Internet but also through a free European phone number.
  • Printing in passports the right to consular protection in third countries.
  • A better coordination and consultation, between Member States, in the analysis of the risk of travelling to a given third country or region, in order to enhance clarity of advices to travellers and if possible, to reach a common approach in drafting those advices, even though ECTAA recognizes that the final decision on the final content of a travel advice should remain of the sole competence of a given Member State.

Said President Jan Van Steen: “Many of our customers are travelling outside the EU, whether for business or for leisure purposes. It is thus essential that travel agents, tour operators but also their customers are well informed about the protection that EU citizens are entitled to claim from any Member State. The procedures must be consistent, clear and transparent for all parties involved, i.e. EU citizens, travel agents, tour operators but also Member States’ representations in third countries”.


Source: ECTAA - Group of National Travel Agents’ and Tour Operators’ Associations within the EU
For further information about ECTAA, click here

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