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Parliamentary question - E-005311/2014(ASW)Parliamentary question
E-005311/2014(ASW)

Answer given by Mr Hahn on behalf of the Commission

The question asked by the Honourable Member potentially concerns matters such as the law applicable to filiation, parental responsibility and the attribution and change of a child's name.

Currently there is no EC law governing these matters, which fall under each Member State's national law, including its private international law rules.

With regard to parental responsibility, the 1996 Hague Convention[1] has been ratified by both Germany and Austria. Under this Convention, the attribution, extinction and exercise of parental responsibility is governed by the law of the State of the child's habitual residence.

In 2010 the Commission published a Green Paper[2] which considered initiatives to promote the free movement of public documents and the mutual recognition of civil status, including name, in cross-border situations. As a first step the Commission proposed a regulation simplifying the acceptance of public documents between Member States[3] which is currently being examined by the co-legislators.

It should be noted that, according to Article 51(1) of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, the Charter applies to Member States only when they are implementing EC law. Otherwise, it is for Member States to ensure that fundamental rights are protected in accordance with their national legislation and international human rights obligations. Citizens who believe that their fundamental rights have not been respected may seek redress at national level through the competent authorities, such as an ombudsman or the courts. In addition, citizens who consider that their rights guaranteed by the European Convention on Human Rights have been violated may lodge a complaint[4] once all domestic remedies have been exhausted.

OJ C 413, 19/11/2014