EU legislature 2019-2024
In May 2019, the EU elections took place and the voters decided on 751 Members of the European Parliament (including UK). But, who will support LGBTIQ* people and their children openly and actively within the new legislature? NELFA will work closely together with the re-established EP’s Intergroup on LGBTI Rights, Intergroup on Children’s Rights and the EU Commission (in particular DG Justice) to advance the rights of rainbow families and to ensure their free movement within the EU!
STUDY ON CROSS-BORDER LEGAL PARENTHOOD RECOGNITION
On 19th of April 2023, Professor Alina Tryfonidou (University of Paphos, Cyprus and Reading, UK) published her new study, commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the Committee on Petitions. It is entitled: “Cross-Border Legal Recognition of Parenthood in the EU”. It has as its aim to analyse the Commission’s proposal for a Regulation on the recognition of parenthood. It also provides a critical assessment and issues policy recommendations for its improvement. Read more. (graphic: EU, NELFA)
LEGISLATIVE PROPOSAL ON PARENTHOOD
On 7th of December 2022, the EU Commission finally published its legislative proposal on parenthood recognition. It is focused on the best interests and the rights of the child. It will provide legal clarity for all types of families, who find themselves in a cross-border situation within the EU. One of the key aspects is that the parenthood established in a Member State should be recognised in all the other Member States, without any special procedure. NELFA is very pleased with the proposal. Find a joint press release with ILGA-Europe, another statement of the EP’s Intergroups on LGBTI Rights und Children’s Rights and an article written by Joanna Gill (Thomson Reuters Foundation) with further insights of NELFA allies and Board members. (photo: Priscilla du Preetz/ Unsplash)
DECISION IN THE “BABY SOFIA” CASE
On 27th of June 2022, the European Court of Justice decided in the case of “Baby Sofia” (C-2/2021). The girl was stateless because the countries of origin of her mothers (Ireland and Poland) didn’t recognise the Spanish birth certificate. According to the judgment, Poland is obliged to issue a passport and a PESEL number (health insurance) for the child. The case is similar to the one of “Baby Sara“. NELFA is very pleased with the recent decision, especially because we accompanied the couple for a while. (photo: Anna Mazurczak via Facebook)
PUBLIC HEARING ON RAINBOW FAMILIES
On 14th of June 2022, the EP’s JURI Committee organised a public hearing on the recognition of parenthood in EU Member States. The aim was to examine the state of play on cross-border recognition and to present the next steps to be taken at European level to safeguard the rights of children and families in such situations. Read NELFA’s presentation here. Meanwhile, on 16th of May 2022, a court in Bulgaria decided that the Municipality of Sofia must issue a birth certificate stating two mothers. Here you can find more information. (photo: JURI)
DECISION IN THE “BABY SARA” CASE
This is again a landmark decision! The EU’s top court in Luxembourg has ruled on 14th of December 2021 that same-sex parents and their children must be recognised as a family in all Member States. The case came before the European Court of Justice (CJEU) after Bulgarian authorities refused to give a birth certificate to the new-born daughter of a same-sex couple on the basis that a child cannot have two mothers. Read ILGA’s press release. (photo: CJEU)
EU RESOLUTION ON RAINBOW FAMILIES
In a resolution on the rights of LGBTIQ* persons in the EU (387 votes in favour, 161 against and 123 abstaining), the EU Parliament emphasised on 14th of September 2021, that these citizens should be able to fully exercise their rights, including the right to free movement. This is a historic success for NELFA after many years of raising awareness, sharing experiences and working on better rights for rainbow families! (photo: Robin van Lonkhuijsen, ANP/AFP)
PETI COMMITTEE AND RAINBOW FAMILIES
This is a huge success for NELFA’s work! On 15th of July 2021, the European Parliament’s Committee on Petitions Committee called EU Member States for upholding EU rights of rainbow families: (1) harmonisation needed for the recognition of marriages and partnerships; (2) full freedom of movement; (3) the Commission should take action against Romania, Hungary and Poland for rights issues and breaches of EU values. Read the full press release. (photo: EU)
STRATEGY ON THE RIGHTS OF THE CHILD
On 24th of March 2021, the new EU Strategy on the Rights of the Child was adopted. It aims to protect and promote the rights of children and build the best possible life for them both in the European Union and across the world. NELFA contributed to the document with a joint submission. LGBTIQ* children and those living in rainbow families are mentioned several times in the Strategy, especially the obstacles in cross-border situations. (graphic: NELFA with EU, ILGA)
PETITIONS TO THE EU PARLIAMENT
On 22nd of March 2021, NELFA contributed to a workshop on “LGBTI+ rights in the EU”. It was organised by the Policy Department of Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs for the Committee on Petitions. NELFA President Eleni Maravelia held a speech, a range of rainbow family petitioners from many different countries shared their personal struggles in cross-border situations. On the same occasion, Prof. Alina Tryfonidou and Prof. Robert Wintemute presented their new study on “Obstacles to the Free Movement of Rainbow Families in the EU”. You find a short NELFA presentation on the findings here. (collage: NELFA)
THE LGBTIQ EQUALITY STRATEGY
On 12th of November 2020, NELFA President Eleni Maravelia took part at the official launch of the first-ever EU Commission’s LGBTIQ Equality strategy , i.e. with Helena Dalli (in the picture). It contains a range of proposals concerning rainbow families in cross-border situations, for example the review of the freedom of movement guidelines and a “horizontal legislative initiative” in 2022 for the mutual recognition of family relations within the EU. NELFA is impressed by the strong strategy and grateful to all people involved. At the same time, we perceived worrying news fro Hungary. Read NELFA’s press release. (photo: www.pes.eu)
LETTER TO EU COMMISSIONER DALLI
It’s a great development at EU level for rainbow families in cross-border situations! The EP’s Intergroups on LGBTI Rights and Children’s Rights just joined forces and issued on 20th of March 2020 a common letter to Equality Commissioner Helena Dalli (with support from NELFA). More than 60 MEPs call for a better recognition of LGBTIQ* parents and their children whenever they exercice their freedom of movement. Read the full letter here. (graphic: NELFA)
NELFA CAMPAIGN AND REPORT
On 4th of February 2020, NELFA took part at a meeting in Brussels with new Commissioner for Equality, Helena Dalli, and the re-established Intergroup on LGBTI Rights in the European Parliament. Vice President Björn Sieverding (LSVD) shared current struggles of rainbow families in the EU. Several recent cases and background information are highlighted in an ALL OUT campaign. It was also the occasion to publish Alina Tryfonidou’s research report on “The cross-border recognition of rainbow families under EU law”. (photo: Björn Sieverding)
NELFA has elaborated a wishlist for the European Union within the next years. We were able to present it for the first time at the high-level conference in Brussels on 23rd and 24th of September 2019, organised by the Finnish EU Presidency and the EU Commission. The conference was entitled “Advancing LGBTI Equality in 2020 and beyond“. NELFA gave a keynote speech at a workshop about rainbow families in cross-border situations. Here you find further results. Currently, many LGBTIQ* parents face difficulties and can’t exercise their free (fundamental EU) movement rights. We want to change this as soon as possible!
NELFA FACT SHEETS
NELFA monitors the legal situation for rainbow families in the EU and beyond. From time to time, we have the chance to present those findings. In the recent past, NELFA issued for example a cross border presentation, a children’s rights analysis (Rainbow Family Map) and a current status of rainbow families in Europe. At a meeting with Member States representatives, we were able to spread an actual hand out on rainbow families in the legal EU framework. For further updates and presentations – have a closer look at our rubric “NELFA output“.
NELFA ELECTION CAMPAIGN
NELFA – the Network of European LGBTIQ* Families Associations – asks Members of the European Parliament: “What will you do for LGBTIQ* families?“. Therefore, we elaborated a NELFA questionnaire. The campaign was originally made for MEP candidates, but we would like to get a sustainable support from those politicians who are finally voted in. These newly elected MEPs will be a sort of “ambassadors” for rainbow families in the next legislature. Read our EU election press release and below the current answers. (graphic: NELFA)
COFACE ELECTION VALUES
COFACE Families Europe is a pluralistic network of civil society organisations, representing and supporting millions of families of all types without discrimination. With its EU election campaign #AllFamiliesSpeakOut, COFACE has called on safeguarding a social, inclusive and democratic Europe and respecting ten important values. Read more here. After the nomination of the new Commissioners in September 2019, COFACE launched another analysis.