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Parliamentary questions
22 February 2010
WRITTEN QUESTION by Cristiana Muscardini (PPE) to the Commission

 Subject: The Hague Convention and the role of the Jugendamt (German Child Welfare Office)

Parliament is currently in the process of approving the Council decision on the conclusion by the European Community of the Convention on the International Recovery of Child Support and Other Forms of Family Maintenance. This measure responds to a real need, given the large number of disputes between spouses of different nationalities within and outside the EU. Although the decision is a step in the right direction, implementation of the convention could be hampered by differences in the family law applying in different countries. For example, in disputes between a German and a non-German spouse, the former almost always comes out better than the latter. Parliament has received a large number of petitions and complaints concerning non-German spouses who have allegedly suffered discrimination at the hands of the Jugendamt, which takes precedence over ordinary courts in matters relating to children. Disparities in family law can create difficulties and prevent objective justice, which gives equal weight to the rights of both spouses, from being served.

Given the above, and with a view to avoiding misconceptions:

1. Can the Commission say how many disputes there have been in recent years between German and non-German EU citizens and which of the spouses the Jugendamt ruled in favour of in the majority of cases: the German spouse or the non-German spouse?
2. Would it not agree that a central European family law authority set up within the European legal area could deal swiftly with appeals by spouses who consider that they have been discriminated against by a national court?

Original language of question: ITOJ C 138 E, 07/05/2011
Last updated: 16 August 2010Legal notice