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Home NATIONALGovt moves to amend Consular Services Act
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Fri, 29 Aug, 2014 12:30:07 AM
FTimes Report, August 29

The government on Thursday introduced a bill for amending the Consular Services Act and certain other related laws with the view to facilitate organisation of consular services through the Finnish network of foreign missions abroad in a more flexible manner as per the demand.

As a result of the reforms, not every foreign mission would be required to provide all the consular services any more, said an official press release.

Any service deemed unnecessary or impractical could be rearranged between foreign missions.

As an example, one could mention the Benelux countries, i.e. Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg, where, geographically speaking, the embassies are located close to each other and the national borders are easy to cross.

The bill the government has introduced to parliament facilitates significant development of the consular services provided by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, said Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja.

“The bill is the most important reform developing the arrangement of operations within the Ministry for Foreign Affairs’ administrative sector during this government’s term,” he added.

The release said, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs could also provide the kind of consular services that are suited to be provided at the ministry and do not require processing of the consular affair in the country concerned.

The specific purpose of the amendment is to enhance the efficiency of consular service provision in Europe, where the distances are short and crossing of national borders is uncomplicated.

However, even in the future, the services to Finnish citizens in distress would continue to be provided in the foreign mission as required by the severity and the urgency of the matter in question.

More detailed regulations on consular services provided by Finnish foreign missions and the Ministry for Foreign Affairs would be given by a decree of the President of the Republic.

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