– having regard to the proposal for a Council decision (COM(2009)0373),
– having regard to Articles 61(c) and 300(2), first subparagraph, of the EC Treaty,
– having regard to Article 300(3), first subparagraph, of the EC Treaty, pursuant to which the Council consulted Parliament (C7-0156/2009),
– having regard to the Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council entitled "Consequences of the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon for ongoing interinstitutional decision-making procedures" (COM(2009)0665),
– having regard to Articles 81(3) and 218(6)(b) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU,
– having regard to Rules 55 and 90(8) of its Rules of Procedure,
– having regard to the report of the Committee on Legal Affairs (A7-0005/2010),
1. Approves conclusion of the Convention;
2. Instructs its President to forward its position to the Council and the Commission.
The issue in brief
Parliament is consulted on a proposal for the Community to conclude an international convention aiming to ensure a more effective recovery of child support and other forms of family maintenance.
The Council consulted Parliament on this proposal on 14 September 2009, expressing a wish that Parliament deal with this proposal as swiftly as possible.
Content of the proposal
The aim of the proposal is the approval on behalf of the Community of the Hague Convention on the International Recovery of Child Support and other Forms of Family Maintenanceconcluded on 23 November 2007 (the Convention)(1).
The Convention aims to ensure the effective recovery of family maintenance. Since the vast majority of such claims involve children and child support, the Convention is first and foremost a measure to protect children. The Convention covers many practical matters affecting the way in which international claims are pursued, for example language requirements, standard forms and administrative cooperation between Central Authorities with an emphasis on the use of new technologies to cut costs and delays. It lays down detailed rules on the recognition and enforcements in matters of maintenance obligations.
A case involving two EU Member States (except Denmark(2)) would be dealt with under the Maintenance Regulation(3). On the other hand, a case involving an EU Member State and a non-Member State which is a State Party to the Convention would be dealt with under the Convention. The Community's relations with other State Parties would therefore be regulated by a harmonised set of rules.
The Commission considers that the Community has exclusive external competence in fields covered by the Maintenance Regulation. The proposal is therefore that the Convention be concluded by the Community, to the exclusion of the Member States, and that the Community alone deal with declarations to the Convention. One such declaration would align the scope of the whole Convention with that of the Maintenance Regulation(4). Member States would then be bound by the Convention by virtue of the Community having concluded it.
The Commission also proposes to align the date by which the Member States must notify to it their designated Central Authorities under the Convention with the date by which Member States must communicate information on contact details and languages under the Maintenance Regulation, which is 18 September 2010(5). The Commission would centralise this information and pass it on the Permanent Bureau of the Hague Conference.
Approach of the rapporteur
As your rapporteur, I commend the proposal to the Committee and recommend a vote in favour of it, given that the Convention forms part of a fully-fledged and potentially worldwide legal framework dealing with family maintenance and child support(6).
Denmark did not take part in the adoption of Regulation 4/2009 of 18 December 2008 on jurisdiction, applicable law, recognition and enforcement of decisions and cooperation in matters relating to maintenance obligations (the Maintenance Regulation); see recital 48 thereof. For the United Kingdom's failure to opt in and subsequent acceptance of the Maintenance Regulation, see Commission Decision 2009/451/EC of 8 June 2009, OJ L 149/73.
This is ensured by the disconnection clause contained in Article 51(4) of the Convention. For the date of application of the Maintenance Regulation, see Article 76 thereof. For the date of entry into force of the Convention, see its Article 60(1).
Raffaele Baldassarre, Sebastian Valentin Bodu, Christian Engström, Marielle Gallo, Lidia Joanna Geringer de Oedenberg, Klaus-Heiner Lehne, Antonio Masip Hidalgo, Jiří Maštálka, Alajos Mészáros, Bernhard Rapkay, Evelyn Regner, Francesco Enrico Speroni, Alexandra Thein, Cecilia Wikström
Substitute(s) present for the final vote
Piotr Borys, Sajjad Karim, Vytautas Landsbergis, Kurt Lechner, Eva Lichtenberger, Toine Manders, Arlene McCarthy, Angelika Niebler, Georgios Papastamkos