Europe in the World

European External Action Service and National Diplomacies Project


Serving the citizens? Consular role of the EEAS grows in small steps

30 April 2013
Kristi Raik (External authors)


The consular role of the European External Action Service (EEAS) has emerged as one of the most contested issues in the debate on the review of the Service. The EEAS is commonly expected to serve the EU institutions and member states in its fields of competence. A more controversial issue is the extent to which it should also serve EU citizens by taking on certain consular tasks to assist citizens abroad. In the debate, consular protection has often been presented as an important instrument for bringing the EEAS closer to the public. This Policy Brief by Kristi Raik argues that it is more opportune to focus on pragmatic reasons and means to strengthen the consular functions of the EEAS.

In the longer term, there is a strong economic rationale for assigning EU Delegations with consular assistance tasks, argues Kristi Raik in this paper. Building up such a capacity for the EEAS would require additional resources, but pooling resources in this way would ease, not duplicate, the burden on member states. But if these benefits are to materialise, then a major leap is required in member states’ views on the transfer of national competences and resources to EU level, the paper concludes.

Serving the citizens? Consular role of the EEAS grows in small steps

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