Thursday

27th Jul 2017

Divorce rules could divide EU states

  • International divorces amount to some 20 percent of all divorces taking place in the EU each year. (Photo: European Commission)

Nine EU states are getting ready to reinforce their legal co-operation at the EU level by agreeing a common divorce law, by-passing Sweden's veto and posing questions about a "two-speed Europe."

France, Italy, Spain, Greece, Austria, Hungary, Slovenia, Luxembourg and Romania are set to implement the so-called enhanced co-operation procedure, while other countries - including Germany, Belgium, Portugal and Lithuania - are also currently considering joining the initiative, according to the AFP news agency.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now and get 40% off for an annual subscription. Sale ends soon.

  1. €90 per year. Use discount code EUOBS40%
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

If the nine countries go ahead, it will be the first time the legal mechanism - allowing a minimum of eight EU states to present the European Commission with a demand for "enhanced co-operation" - will have been activated.

Provided that the commission accepts the move, it then has to be approved by a qualified majority of the bloc's 27 member states.

Enhanced co-operation is seen as one of the ways to avoid EU-wide paralysis, which may increasingly come into play if the EU fails to quickly overcome the Irish No vote and implement the new Lisbon treaty.

But critics of the procedure say that it would lead to a "two-speed Europe."

"Enhanced co-operation is a very sensitive issue because it has never been implemented. It allows several member states to go forward faster than others, and it is not necessarily the image we want to give of the EU," a source from the French EU presidency is quoted as saying by the Reuters news agency.

EU countries have for a long time failed to agree on common rules on divorce between couples of different European nationality.

Under the proposal, currently blocked by Sweden - which would prefer to keep its own liberal national law - the couples would be able to choose which country's law to apply for their divorce proceedings.

If they cannot agree, their joint connection to a country - notably related to the time of residence - determines which country's courts would deal with the divorce case.

Divorce rules currently vary strongly within the EU, with Nordic countries being traditionally more liberal and predominantly Catholic countries being more conservative in the matter.

Malta does not permit divorce at all.

The enhanced co-operation measure will be discussed during a meeting of EU justice and home affairs ministers in Brussels on Friday (25 July).

EU Commission unmoved by Polish president's veto

Andrzej Duda decided to veto two of the controversial draft laws, which would put the judiciary under political control, but the EU executive is awaiting details before deciding on whether to launch legal probes on Wednesday.

Polish parliament steps up showdown with EU

Lawmakers in Poland adopted a controversial reform of the Supreme Court, despite warnings from the EU that the move could trigger a sanction procedure over the rule of law.

Investigation

Mafia money pollutes the EU economy

Huge amounts of money from criminal activities are funnelled into the legitimate European economy. But little is being done about it at EU or national level.

Investigation

Mafia money pollutes the EU economy

Huge amounts of money from criminal activities are funnelled into the legitimate European economy. But little is being done about it at EU or national level.

News in Brief

  1. Member states relocate 3,000 migrants in June
  2. Top EU jurist says Malta's finch-trapping against EU law
  3. EU judges rule to keep Hamas funds frozen
  4. EU court rejects passenger data deal with Canada
  5. US votes in favour of Nord Stream II sanctions
  6. Greece makes return to bond market
  7. Trump accuses the EU of protectionism
  8. EU parliament's Brexit group urges progress on talks

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EU2017EELocal Leaders Push for Local and Regional Targets to Address Climate Change
  2. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceMore Women Than Men Have Died From Heart Disease in Past 30 Years
  3. European Jewish CongressJean-Marie Le Pen Faces Trial for Oven Comments About Jewish Singer
  4. ACCAAnnounces Belt & Road Research at Shanghai Conference
  5. ECPAFood waste in the field can double without crop protection. #WithOrWithout #pesticides
  6. EU2017EEEstonia Allocates €1 Million to Alleviate Migratory Pressure From Libya in Italy
  7. Dialogue PlatformFethullah Gulen's Message on the Anniversary of the Coup Attempt in Turkey
  8. Martens CentreWeeding out Fake News: An Approach to Social Media Regulation
  9. European Jewish CongressEJC Concerned by Normalisation of Antisemitic Tropes in Hungary
  10. Counter BalanceOut for Summer Episode 1: How the EIB Sweeps a Development Fiasco Under the Rug
  11. CESICESI to Participate in Sectoral Social Dialogue Committee on Postal Services
  12. ILGA-EuropeMalta Keeps on Rocking: Marriage Equality on Its Way

Latest News

  1. EU defends airline data-sharing after court ruling
  2. Stop blaming Trump for Poland’s democratic crisis
  3. EU and US scrap on Russia sanctions gets worse
  4. Czechs, Hungarians, and Poles have one month to start taking migrants
  5. EU Commission sets red lines for Poland on Article 7
  6. Court told to 'dismiss' case against EU migrant quotas
  7. Russia's EU pipeline at 'risk' after US vote
  8. EU Commission to act on Poland