Answer given by Mrs Reding on behalf of the Commission
As provided in Directive 2004/38/EC, Member States may, where the Union citizen exercises the right to move and reside freely in its territory, require the family member who is a national of a non-EU country to have an entry visa.
Article 5 of the directive also provides that possession of the residence card referred to in Article 10 of the directive exempts from the visa requirement non-EU family members accompanying or joining the Union citizen in a Member State other than that of his or her nationality.
Regarding the issue whether registered partners are family members in this specific context, non-EU registered partners of Union citizens enjoy the above rights in host Member States the legislation of which treats registered partnerships as equivalent to marriage.
In other host Member States, partners with whom the Union citizen has a durable relationship, duly attested, have a right to have their entry and residence facilitated. This means that the host Member State has to undertake an extensive examination of the personal circumstances and justify any denial of entry or residence. If they are given a right of entry and residence and subsequently are in possession of a residence card in accordance with Article 10 of the directive, they enjoy the same rights as described above.
In addition to the above rules which apply to the entire Union, registered partners of Union citizens holding a residence document issued by a Member State may be entitled to visa-free travel under the Schengen rules. In accordance with Article 21 of the Convention Implementing the Schengen Agreement, third-country nationals who hold valid residence permits issued by one of the Member States may, on the basis of that permit and a valid travel document, move freely for up to three months within the territories of the other Member States, provided that they fulfil the entry conditions referred to in Article 5(1)(a), (c) and (e) of the Schengen Borders Code.