Removing the legal and administrative barriers that citizens face when they start a family life in a Member State other than their own was at the centre of the Workshop on Civil Justice which took place in the European Parliament on 30 November.
The Workshop, which was attended by EU and national parlamentarians, was composed of four thematic sessions. The first two sessions presented the "state of play" in the drafting of new legal instruments in the field of European family law and the law of succession.
The third session focused on child protection in cross-border situations. The topics of parental responsibility, including the controversial issue of the recognition of surrogacy agreements, as well as of international adoption was addressed therein. Legal practitioners and academics reported on the current situation as it stands in several Member States.
The last session provided an overview of the current difficulties faced by citizens in proving their civil status in cross-border situations. In this regard, a number of actions ranging from the suppression of the legalisation formalities of civil status acts to the interconnection of civil status registers were presented. The challenging idea of creating a European "civil status" document was discussed.
Finally, the Worskshop also included speeches from Melchior Wathelet, Belgian State Secretary for Family Policy, on the achievements of the Belgian Presidency in the field of family law and Viviane Reding, European Commission (EC) Vice-President, on the actions planned by the EC in this field.