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Evacuation of EU citizens from Chad and application of the consular Lead State concept

The Presidency would like to thank France for the successful evacuation of EU citizens from Chad, a convincing demonstration of European solidarity. As Lead State in Chad, France efficiently coordinated and carried out activities to ensure the necessary protection of EU citizens. It evacuated more than 1 200 citizens from 12 Member States and third countries (60 nationalities in all).

The Lead State concept in crisis situations, adopted by the EU Council on 18 June 2007, was put into practice for the first time in Chad, with a very successful outcome. It has proven to be an effective method of providing consular protection to EU citizens in crisis situations in third countries. As agreed and laid down in the plan, the Member States provided the Lead State with the necessary information on their citizens in Chad. Exchanging information, possible solutions and instructions to citizens, and coordinating activities were of vital importance.

The efficiency of the action and unselfish assistance were noticed in particular by the evacuated citizens, who experienced it at first hand.

The concept is aimed at protecting EU citizens in crisis situations in third countries, particularly where some Member States do not have their own representation in the country. It is the role of the Lead State to coordinate measures for the protection of EU citizens during a crisis (providing information to citizens on site and to responsible authorities in capitals, on gathering points and evacuation if necessary, etc.). The concept is being tested in third countries where only one or two Member States have a representation. In Chad only France and Germany have embassies. We are pleased that the practical application of the Lead State concept in crisis situations has proved so successful.

The evacuation of citizens from Chad was undoubtedly an example par excellence of good consular cooperation between EU Member States in crisis situations. In handling the complex package of activities necessary to ensure the protection of citizens, pragmatism and functionality prevailed. The Presidency would once again like to express its gratitude to France for its successful evacuation of EU citizens from Chad and all its efforts in this operation.


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Date: 11.02.2008