Procedure : 2016/2575(RSP)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : O-000028/2016

Texts tabled :

O-000028/2016 (B8-0360/2016)

Debates :

PV 27/04/2016 - 20
CRE 27/04/2016 - 20

Votes :

Texts adopted :

Parliamentary questions
PDF 104kWORD 26k
15 February 2016
Question for oral answer O-000028/2016
to the Commission
Rule 128
Pavel Svoboda, on behalf of the Committee on Legal Affairs
Cecilia Wikström, on behalf of the Committee on Petitions

 Subject: Protecting the best interest of the child (across borders) in Europe
 Answer in plenary 

In connection with the upcoming review of the Brussels IIa Regulation and with rising public concern, as manifested in the large number of petitions addressed to Parliament, the Commission is asked to take a position on the following issues:

1. Could it clarify the direction it intends to take in proposing modifications to this regulation? Does it envisage re-evaluating current procedures and reducing bureaucratic obstacles in child custody proceedings? How will it tackle shortcomings such as the lack of enforcement and of mutual recognition of national courts’ decisions, and the unclear definition of the ‘best interest of the child’ and of ‘habitual residence’? Will it refer explicitly to the duty of a host state, in child custody cases, to inform the consular authorities of the state of which a child is a national, in accordance with Article 37(b) of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations?

2. In view of Article 24 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, will the Commission introduce common minimum standards for the hearing of a child in national civil proceedings in cross-border cases? How will it facilitate dialogue and the sharing of best practices between stakeholders and provide appropriate legal training for social workers, judges and police officers?

3. Will it encourage the Member States, where appropriate, to designate specialised chambers within family courts or cross-border mediation bodies, thus allowing fairer and speedier proceedings in the Member States? Does it envisage setting up a network of such chambers to facilitate smooth cooperation and the exchange of best practices? Does it plan to promote the fast-tracking of child-related cases in legal proceedings before the national courts and the Court of Justice?

4. Is it aware of citizens’ concerns and complaints about the implementation of adoption law (non-consensual adoption) and the practices of some child welfare and judicial services which have an impact on free movement (with 328 petitions having been received from five different Member States)? Will it gather information on these issues and ensure that the best interest of the child is guaranteed?

5. Does it support Europe-wide initiatives aimed at launching a web portal for common users and legal operators, containing clear and easily accessible legal information on national adoption procedures and indicating the authorities to turn to in cases involving cross-border abductions? Is it considering setting up, under the existing judicial training programme, a judicial training initiative on cross-border child-related cases?

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