Brussels, 10 April 2019:
The European Union Member States supported by the European Union External Action Service today held a semi-live consular crisis exercise named “NEPALAYA 19”. The exercise, which was organised under the Romanian Presidency of the Council of the European Union, simulated a series of natural and man-made disasters in Nepal, India and Bhutan affecting a large number of European citizens.
The objective of the exercise was to test the capacity of EU Member States to assist EU citizens living or travelling outside the EU and facing the impacts of disasters or crisis situations, no matter whether these occur in a country where they are represented by a national diplomatic mission or not.
Situation Centres of EU Members States and of the EU Institutions, as well as EU Delegations, Diplomatic Missions of EU Member States and of Norway and Switzerland in India and in Nepal participated in the exercise; diplomatic missions of Australia, Canada, Israel, United States of America as well as the United Nations office in India joined as active observers.
The assessment of the exercise highlighted that, in the case of large disasters affecting citizens of various European nationalities, an efficient coordination at the European level can be critical for individual EU Member States to better monitor and respond more efficiently to crisis situations, and better support their citizens.
While EU Member States are fully responsible for providing consular support to their own citizens, the role of the EU, which has no consular competence, is to support EU Member States in this endeavour and at their request, in particular for the coordination of a better and more effective crisis response to the benefit of all European citizens under the lead of the Presidency.
Background: The EU Treaties guarantee all EU citizens the right to equal treatment regarding protection from the diplomatic and consular authorities of any Member State when they are travelling or living outside the EU and their own country is not represented (Articles 20(2)(c) and 23 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union; Article 46 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights). The terms of EU cooperation in the matter are enshrined in the Council Directive 2015/637 on the coordination and cooperation measures to facilitate consular protection for unrepresented citizens of the Union in third countries
More on the European framework for consular protection:
Practical website for European citizens about their rights to consular protection: