Honorary consuls: A booming trade

“IN A way an honorary consul is more difficult to get rid of than a career man,” wrote Graham Greene in his novel “The Honorary Consul”, charting the misadventures of an alcoholic Englishman of minor diplomatic rank in Argentina.Honorary consuls are recognised in international law and theoretically enjoy the same privileges as career diplomats. Often they are locals appointed in cities too insignificant for professional consulates. Most work without pay. Their numbers have been growing steadily in recent years, to more than 20,000 worldwide. Many represent small or fast-growing countries. Estonia has 165, up from 100 only a few years ago. Iceland has 250. Among large countries, Australia, Canada and Russia are enthusiastic employers of honorary consuls.World travel is one reason for their growing ubiquity. Tourists range ever farther afield. When they fall ill or have run-ins with the law, embassies in national capitals are often too far away to provide assistance. New trade routes also generate demand for honorary consuls. Small African countries now do business with firms in provincial Chinese and Indian cities. Who can afford punchy representation everywhere? Well-connected locals offering their services for the honour of flying the flag are more than welcome. Stelios Haji-Ioannou, the billionaire founder of easyJet, an airline, represents his native Cyprus in Monaco,…

Link to article: www.economist.com/news/international/21584338-foreign-ministries-employ-ever-more-amateurs-do-their-bidding-abroad-booming-trade?fsrc=rss|int

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Time limit is exhausted. Please reload the CAPTCHA.