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Map of countries host to a Portuguese Diplomatic mission (Portugal is shown in dark green) (Source: Wikipedia)

Map of countries host to a Portuguese Diplomatic mission (Portugal is shown in dark green) (Source: Wikipedia)

I noticed Portugal doesn't have embassies with certain EU countries, so I was wondering if the EU has some mechanisms to ensure that diplomatic relations between EU members aren't impacted due to an EU member not having an embassy in another EU country?

I am assuming there are other ways to conduct diplomatic activities (some other form of communication for EU countries) but I am not aware of any alternative methods of doing so with another country without the intermediary of an embassy. (I did notice that Portugal was a member of several multilateral institutions such as the Council of Europe).

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    What do you mean by “the fact of not having an embassy less terrible”?
    – user46746
    Aug 19, 2023 at 19:55
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    “I am not aware of any alternative methods of communicating with another country” There are several ways in which countries without formal diplomatic relationships can still interact. The United Nations, special departments in third party embassies, consulates, NATO or other treaty organizations.
    – user46746
    Aug 19, 2023 at 20:00
  • @shashin-ka not to mention... phone calls and emails :-) Aug 20, 2023 at 15:19
  • What do you mean by not having an embassy is bad?
    – Joe W
    Sep 20, 2023 at 18:46
  • @shashin-ka not having an embassy somewhere doesn't imply a lack of formal diplomatic relations. By far the most common reason for not having an embassy somewhere is cost; the responsible ambassador simply lives somewhere else. An interesting question might be whether it's even possible for an EU member state to sever diplomatic relations with another EU member state. It's almost a nonsensical proposition.
    – phoog
    Sep 22, 2023 at 21:23

2 Answers 2

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Portugal has ambassadors for all EU countries, but some of them are accredited as "non-residents" (Embaixador não residente), which means the embassy is seated elsewhere and serves multiple countries.

  • Rome/Italy for Malta

    There is currently no permanent Portuguese representation in Malta. Matters relating to this country are handled by the Portuguese Embassy in Rome. The Ambassador resident in Rome, Bernardo Luis de Carvalho Futscher Pereira, is inherently (por inerência) the non-resident Ambassador to Malta, having been appointed on 28 October 2022.

  • Copenhagen/Denmark for Lithuania

    There is no permanent Portuguese representation in Lithuania. Matters relating to this country are handled by the Portuguese Embassy in Copenhagen. The Ambassador resident in Copenhagen, João Maria Rebelo de Andrade Cabral, is inherently a non-resident Ambassador to Lithuania, having presented his credentials to that effect on 4 May 2021. Portugal has 1 Honorary Consulate in Lithuania.

  • Stockholm/Sweden for Latvia

    There is no permanent Portuguese representation in Latvia. Matters relating to Latvia are handled by the Portuguese Embassy in Stockholm. The Ambassador resident in Stockholm, Sara Feronha Martins, is inherently the non-resident Ambassador to Latvia.

  • Helsinki/Finland for Estonia

    There is no permanent Portuguese representation in Estonia. Matters relating to this country are handled by the Portuguese Embassy in Helsinki and its Consular Section. Portuguese Ambassador to Helsinki Francisco de Assis Morais e Cunha Vaz Patto presented his credentials to President Kersti Kaljulaid [of Estonia] on 9 February 2021.

  • Vienna/Austria for Slovenia seems to be handled differently, the overview page does not mention the term "non-resident ambassador".

    Between 1993 and 2005 Ambassadors resident in Vienna were accredited as non-residents in Ljubljana. In 2005, the Embassy in Ljubljana was opened; Ambassador Maria do Carmo Allegro de Magalhães presented her credentials as the first Ambassador resident in Slovenia. In 2012, the Embassy in Ljubljana was closed and Slovenia became part of the area of jurisdiction (área de jurisdição) of the Embassy in Vienna.

    There is an extra page with "Titulares" that lists the resident and non-resident ambassadors. After 2013, only a "Chargé d'Affaires" (Encarregada de Negócios Interina) is mentioned for the year 2021, when both Portugal and Slovenia held the Presidency of the Council.

    This seems to mean the ambassador to Austria is not accredited to Slovenia, for whatever reason, even though the country is in "his jurisdiction".

(All quotes translated by DeepL)

These are only the EU cases. Portugal seems to use this model quite a lot worldwide - I count 115 countries marked this way.

The fact that Portugal has no resident ambassador to a country has no bearing on the opposite: Malta and Estonia have embassies in Lisbon, Lithuania has a non-resident ambassador acting from London, Latvia has one acting from Dublin, and for Slovenia the information is missing.

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  • Interesting, I always wondered if a physical entities was necessary.
    – Sayaman
    Aug 19, 2023 at 23:44
  • @ItalianPhilosophers4Monica the Portuguese ambassador to Austria also represents Portugal in Slovenia. When representation is handled by another country then the stand-in country is called the "protecting power" as Sweden is for the United States in North Korea.
    – phoog
    Aug 21, 2023 at 6:34
  • Txs, sorry you felt you had to go translate all of these, that really wasn't my intent. Aug 21, 2023 at 22:09
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Think about activities of an embassy within the country:

  1. Fostering foreign relations: EU country representatives regularly meet within Council of European Union, European Parliament, and multilateral institutions where most of these may be discussed.

  2. Consular services for incoming guests: EU country citizens do not need visa, so number of visa requests will be smaller. When necessary, an embassy in another neighbouring country will provide these services.

  3. Consular services for own citizens: EU gives broad rights to any EU citizens, and most services would be rendered by the host country in this case. With exception of issuing fresh passports and similar documents. However, a passport is not strictly necessary for in-EU travel.

An embassy or consular office is a costly business, and expenses need to be weighed against a number of cases served by the embassy. If few cases are handled, and the country is not a key economic partner, the services will be rendered from a neighbouring country.

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    Did you mean the Council of Europe in #1? Asking because it isn't a EU institution (although same flag, and all EU members are CoE members), whereas the European Council and the Council of the European Union which are, and it's all rather confusing. Aug 21, 2023 at 12:27
  • "However, a passport is not strictly necessary for in-EU travel": but in the absence of a passport, a national ID card is needed, and both of those documents can only be issued by the country of citizenship, rendering a consulate just as necessary.
    – phoog
    Sep 22, 2023 at 21:27

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