Magazine article European Social Policy

Justice and Home Affairs Council : New Divorce Rules Can Head for Enhanced Cooperation

Magazine article European Social Policy

Justice and Home Affairs Council : New Divorce Rules Can Head for Enhanced Cooperation

Article excerpt

The EU's member states have come to realise that they will not, at least in the short term, agree on new rules for divorces of couples of different nationalities. The last-ditch attempt by the Slovenian EU Presidency to achieve unanimity on the so-called Rome III regulation at the Justice and Home Affairs Council, on 6 June in Luxembourg, failed. "This objective cannot be met for the time being, so the Council invited all delegations to try and find a solution in the future," said Slovenian Justice Minister Lovro Sturm.

Such a solution could take the form of enhanced cooperation of a group of member states. However, EU Justice Commissioner Jacques Barrot refused to speculate whether this path will be taken. Diplomats told Europolitics that the Council's legal service has already indicated that enhanced cooperation in this very specific field of family law is possible. However, it is an extremely sensitive political decision that not many member states are fond of.

The aim of Rome III is to establish rules for determining which national law is applicable in divorce cases when the court is in a different member state from the country of at least one member of the couple. Several countries opposed it, led by Sweden, which said that it could not accept at its courts any less liberal law than its own (see Europolitics 3456). Several other EU members also oppose the rules on the grounds of subsidiarity and proportionality principles.

It should become clear during the incoming French Presidency whether the EU will give a green light to enhanced cooperation on Rome III. …

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