EU wants to purge the Queen from our passports (Daily Mail, 10 September 2007)
Queen may be dropped from UK passports (Daily Telegraph,10 September 2007)
The EU has no intention to “drop” or “purge” the Queen from UK passports, as the Mail and the Telegraph suggest.There has been talk about including in passports a passage on all EU citizens’ right to consular protection outside the EU but there is currently no legal proposal to that effect. And under no circumstances would this replace any existing texts or symbols in passports, including references to Her Majesty.
EU nationals make some 180 million trips each year to third countries and this number is likely to rise. A Eurobarometer survey from summer 2006 showed that half of the EU citizens expected to travel to a non-EU country in the next three years. Also, events such as the 2004 Tsunami catastrophe in South East Asia, the 2005 terrorist attack in Bali and the civil war in Lebanon in 2006 showed the shortcomings under the current situation. Thousands of EU citizens suddenly found themselves in need of urgent help in a third country in which their member states were not represented.
The Commission wants to make sure EU nationals are not stranded if when abroad. This will not lead to replacing texts or symbols in passports but providing EU citizens with more information about their rights to consular protection even if their own government is not represented in their country of destination.
See here for Commissioner for Justice, Freedom and Security Franco Frattini’s speech on the issue: “ The right to diplomatic and consular protection of Union citizens in third countries” (Brussels, 29 May 2007).