Law applicable to bi-national divorces - Commission Acts to Help International Couples: extracts from the press conference by Viviane Reding, Vice-President of the EC in charge of Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship
Première transmission: 24/03/2010
Brussels, Belgium - EC
Fin de production: 24/03/2010
On 24/03/2010, the Commission proposed an "enhanced co-operation" among 10 Member States in the field of divorce rules applicable to international marriages. The Commission estimates that around 20% of divorces in the European Union involve international couples: the proposal provides national courts of the 10 Members States involved with criteria to determine which national law is applicable in case of partners of different nationalities living in different countries or in a country other than their countries of origin.
This was the first use of the enhanced co-operation procedure in the EU's history. The procedure required the participation of at least nine EU-Member States. Other EU countries are free to join whenever they want.
Only the original language version is authentic and it prevails in the event of its differing from the translated versions.
||SOUNDBITE (in ENGLISH) by Viviane Reding, Vice-President of the EC in charge of Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship: Ten Member States asked the Commission to bring forward a proposal on the level of enhanced co-operation in order to give the bi-national couples legal certainty.
||SOUNDBITE (in ENGLISH) by Vivane Reding: It's the first time in the history of the EU that the Commission proposes the enhanced co-operation. An enhanced co-operation where some Member States together go forward is meant to bring on board also other Member States because it is an open system where others can come in any moment they decide to do so.
||SOUNDBITE (in FRENCH) by Viviane Reding saying that it's an open procedure, and any Member State that is not one of the initial 10 Member States can decide to join that group and from a technical point of view the way that this works in the Council is that the Council as a whole will discuss the proposal and then the vote on that proposal will be only done by those 10 Member States that will be applying this now.
||SOUNDBITE (in FRENCH) by Vivane Reding saying that if a couple agrees between themselves to apply a given body of law then, wherever they are, the Court will apply that law. If they don't agree, the Court, when one of the parts is requesting the divorce, will first establish the habitual residence of the couple. If that doesn't work, because one of the couple has already left, then they'll go for the habitual residence of one of the partners. Now, if that doesn't work, they'll try to establish the common nationality of those seeking divorce. If that doesn't work, then it will be the law of the Court before which the request for divorce was brought.
||Cutaway (2 shots)