FRA: Registered partners should have the same property rights as spouses under EU law

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

The Fundamental Rights Agency has said Monday that European Commission proposals to facilitate couples’ free movement may not be in line with the Charter of Fundamental Rights.

Logo Fundamental Rights AgencyLast year the European Commission proposed two new EU regulations to simplify sharing and dividing couples’ property, such as personal belongings and financial assets, when they move between EU Member States.

The Commission drafted one regulation for married couples, and another for registered partners. Although both deal with jurisdiction and applicable law, the first regulation allows spouses—regardless of their gender—to choose under which national law they can share their property.

By contrast, the second regulation does not allow registered partners—regardless of their gender as well—to choose which law applies to the management of their property.

Responding to a request from the European Parliament, the Agency said that the Proposal for a Council Regulation on [...] the property consequences of registered partnerships “does not appear to be in line with the principle of equality (Article 20 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights)”.

Furthermore, part of the proposal “generates potentially problematic effects with regard to the prohibition of discrimination (Article 21)”, the Agency said.

Alexandra Thein MEP, Member of the LGBT Intergroup and Rapporteur for the proposed regulations in Parliament, welcomed the opinion: “The Agency confirms our skepticism towards the approach taken by the Commission. There was no legitimate legal need to propose two separate regulations, and the differential treatment proposed by the Commission is not justified.”

“I strongly recommend the Council of the European Union takes this opinion into account, and adopt two regulations that are in line with the Charter of Fundamental Rights”, she concluded.

Michael Cashman MEP, Co-President of the LGBT Intergroup, added: “I warmly welcome this opinion by the FRA. The parliamentary opinion we are preparing in the Committee on Civil Liberties contains exactly the right amendments to make these regulations offer the same choice to all couples.”

The European Parliament will now proceed to make recommendations to the Council of the European Union. The latter is in charge of adopting the regulations.

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