The European Commission wants to strengthen the rights of children from homoparental families

Gesa Teichert-Akkermann (left) and Verena Akkermann kiss their 11-month-old daughter, in Schellerten, Germany, January 12, 2021.

“If you are a parent in one country, you are a parent in all countries”, launched the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, before the Parliament of Strasbourg, in September 2020. Two years after this declaration, the Community executive is trying to give it substance. This is the purpose of the legislative proposal that he presented, Wednesday, December 7, in Brussels, and which is welcomed in particular by the defenders of homoparental families.

“Currently, national legislation on the recognition of parentage varies according to the Member Statesnotes Didier Reynders, the justice commissioner. This can create legal obstacles, sometimes forcing families to initiate administrative or even legal procedures to obtain recognition of parentage, long and costly procedures with an uncertain outcome. »

In this context, a child of a family in a cross-border situation, within the European Union (EU), risks losing some of the rights which derive directly from parentage in areas such as inheritance, maintenance, custody rights or the parents’ right to act as legal representatives in school or medical matters. “Today, a family can cease to be so by crossing a border, putting certain children in a situation of great precariousness, who sometimes find themselves stateless! » says (Renaissance) MEP Pierre Karleskind.

“Better legal certainty”

The Commission wishes to provide legal certainty to “all types of families when they move within the EU from one Member State to another to travel or reside there”. Including, therefore, homoparental families which, in certain conservative countries, such as Poland or Hungary, but also in Romania, Bulgaria and Slovakia, are not recognized. “Two million children are affected by this text”insists Didier Reynders.

This proposal makes “bringing rainbow families out of the legal vacuum” in which they operate, rejoices MEP (S&D) Gaby Bischoff. It is in no way a question, specifies Didier Reynders, of“Harmonize family law”which remains a national competence – free in Paris, Rome, Berlin, Budapest or Prague to define who can be considered as a parent –, but to “protect the rights of the child”.

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To do this, the Commission proposes the creation of a “European certificate of parentage” which any family could ask to have, if they wish. This certificate should be accepted everywhere within the EU, without its holder being asked for additional proof of his filiation, and would automatically give him the rights attached to this status. “Parentage established in one Member State should be recognized in all the others without any special procedure”, indicates the Commission.

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