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Parliamentary questions
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5 May 2010
Answer given by Mrs Reding on behalf of the Commission
Question reference: E-0863/2010

Member States are obliged to comply with fundamental rights defined in the context of the EU only when they act in the scope of EC law. It is only regarding such situations that the Commission is in a position to monitor compliance by Member States with fundamental rights. In this regard, the sole fact that the parents are Polish and that the Jugendamt is Austrian does not on its own permit the conclusion that there has been a case of discrimination on grounds of nationality.

Otherwise, more generally, matters related to parental responsibility and custody of children come under the sole responsibility of Member States.

Therefore, it is not for the Commission to monitor whether Member States comply with fundamental rights in that area. Nevertheless, the Commission wishes to inform the Honourable Member of the following:

According to Article 9 of the United Nations (UN) Convention on the Rights of the Child, Member States are obliged to ensure that a child shall not be separated from his or her parents against their will, except when competent authorities subject to judicial review determine, in accordance with applicable law and procedures, that such separation is necessary for the best interests of the child.

If any of the persons concerned believe that his or her rights have been violated in the case described by the Honourable Member, he or she should seek redress at national level through the competent authorities, including the courts.

Anyone who considers that any of her or his fundamental rights have been violated may lodge a complaint with the Council of Europe's European Court of Human Rights (Council of Europe, 67075 Strasbourg-Cedex, France(1)). The Court may only deal with a matter after all domestic remedies have been exhausted.


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