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Baltic States agree to revise consular cooperation agreement between countries

BC, Tallinn/Riga, 25.05.2018.Print version
Representatives of the consular departments of the foreign ministries of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania on May 24th in Riga agreed on the revision of the 1999 agreement between the governments of the Baltic states on consular cooperation and assistance, informs LETA/BNS.

The agreement needs revision to adapt the document to the current needs of travellers and the diaspora in line with the changing global security situation and increasing mobility of population, the Latvian Foreign Ministry said. The representatives of the three states expressed approval of cooperation on consular issues between the Baltic states to date, it was said.

The consultations devoted particular attention to the implementation of the EU Consular Directive with a strong focus on providing consular assistance to the citizens of the European Union member states in third countries.

Consular officers from all the three countries noted their productive collaborative efforts and expressed readiness to continue to cooperate closely in providing help to EU nationals abroad. The directive has been introduced in Latvia with the adoption of the Consular Assistance and Consular Services Law, which came into force on May 16, 2018.

Countries of the European Union were obligated by May 1 to adopt a directive of the Council of the European Union, which will facilitate the consular protection of the EU's unrepresented citizens in third countries. The Estonian parliament adopted the necessary bill of amendments to the Consular Act and Identity Documents Act on April 12.

The aim of the directive is to specify when and how EU citizens in trouble in a country outside the EU have the right to receive aid from the embassies or consulates of other EU member states. The bill specifies that the citizens of an unrepresented EU member state in the future will receive consular aid from a foreign mission of Estonia under the same conditions as Estonian citizens. The bill stipulates who counts as an unrepresented citizen. In addition, the bill stipulates that an unrepresented citizen in trouble can file a request for consular aid directly to a foreign mission of Estonia without the application of the member state of nationality.

The meeting also addressed the issues of a more effective consular assistance to persons who have become victims of human trafficking. The parties discussed the outsourcing of various consular services, personal data protection in consular work and other practical matters in the provision of consular assistance.

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