25th April 2012: This morning at the European Parliament in Brussels, Andrew Brons made the following contribution to a debate held in the Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee (LIBE) on an EU directive on the embassies and consulates of members states providing protection in third countries for citizens of other member states that do not have embassies or consulates in the third country concerned or the embassy or consulate is not easily accessible!
He told his fellow committee members:
"I have read the report fairly thoroughly and, unusually for me, it is a report about which I can be fairly positive. I hope that that will not be too great a shock to you.
"However, I think that European Union citizenship is wrongly receiving credit for a practice that must have been carried out before the concept of EU citizenship was dreamt up for the Maastricht Treaty (now the Treaty on European Union). Furthermore, I am sure that it would extend now to countries that are not EU member states, Switzerland or Norway for example, or not even in Europe: Australia or New Zealand.
"I see this as a good neighbour policy or, if you like, Good Samaritan policy that does not depend on this invented secondary citizenship. I hope that embassies would come to the assistance of all people in genuine need of help and protection in an emergency, without checking which passport they might have.
"We have heard those magic words 'refugee' and 'asylum seeker' being used (by one person) this morning. There is a danger that the possibility of people trying to claim these as a status might lead embassies and consulates to think twice about opening their doors to anybody at all."