Magazine article European Social Policy

Justice and Home Affairs : Swedish Opposition May Scupper Eu Divorce Law

Magazine article European Social Policy

Justice and Home Affairs : Swedish Opposition May Scupper Eu Divorce Law

Article excerpt

Sweden has made clear its strong opposition to proposals designed to make it easier for couples to choose which national law should apply to their divorce proceedings, in advance of discussions at the informal meeting of justice ministers on 25-26 January.

The opposition concerns the so-called Rome III proposals (CNS/2006/0135). These set out rules (known as conflict-of-law rules) for deciding whose national law should apply to divorce cases, in situations where the proceedings are in a different member state to either partner's country of nationality. One proposed rule is that couples should have the right to choose, within certain limits, which country's law should apply to their case.

The Swedish position was made clear at a meeting of Council's Committee on Civil Law Matters, on 21 January. A letter was circulated from Swedish Justice Minister Beatrice Ask, noting that both "the Swedish government as well as the Swedish parliament opposes a regulation that would compel Swedish courts to apply foreign divorce law". Following the meeting the Slovenian EU Presidency made it clear, in a written statement, that it "regrets" this firm stance and that it needs to reflect on possible ways forward.

Sweden is concerned that the proposals could lead to its courts being forced to apply divorce law which is more restrictive than Swedish national legislation. The letter notes that "applying more restrictive rules on divorce to some groupsa- for example rules requiring long separation periods or fault groundsa- would mean a major setback in providing equality" [ie gender equality]. …

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