Monday, 1 September 2008

Ever closer union, ever quicker divorce

The same politicians who want to weld European states for ever into a quasi-federal superstate are simultaneously working to make divorce easier throughout the EU. The veteran French euro-federalist, Alain Lamassoure, a Member of the European Parliament, has produced a report which proposes to put in place a cooperation procedure between nine countries (who are interested in cooperating) in order to harmonise divorce proceedings in their respective states. The idea of course is to make it easier for couples from different EU member states to get divorced. The nine states who have decided to cooperate on this are using the semi-forgotten procedure known as “reinforced cooperation”, which allows groups of states to cooperate more closely on certain matters without all EU states having to be involved. One assumes that the authors of this concept did not expect it to be used for matters such as harmonising divorce law. The nine states in question are Romania, Hungary, Austria, Spain, Italy, Slovenia, Luxembourg, Greece and France. Germany, Belgium, Portugal, Lithuania and Slovakia may join in later. Alain Lamassoure says the matter is urgent because there are 350,000 “cross-border” marriages a year in the EU and presumably therefore quite a lot of cross-border divorces too. A typical problem is this: if a Portuguese man return to Portugal and wants to divorce his Italian wife, the Italian courts will apply the law of the country where the marriage was contracted while the Portuguese courts will apply the law of the country where the couple lived. Another example is that the German courts systematically award custody of children to the German parent where one of them is not German. [Anne Cheyvialle, Le Figaro, 25 July 2008]

-- From The European Journal. Sign up for FREE to John Laughland's 'Intelligence Digest' to find out what’s really happening in Europe --

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