Summary: Free movement of same-sex families in the EU

On Tuesday 3 May, the LGBT Intergroup and the ALDE Group organised a public seminar on the free movement of same-sex families in the EU. Thank you to the 80 participants and the 270 people who watched the event online!

Seminar Panel 2 Ulrike Lunacek and speakers Seminar View of the audience

Seminar - Free movement of same-sex families in the EU

Event summary

Speakers’ speeches are available in video below, or on this Vimeo page. You can also download speakers’ presentations, where available.

Panel 1: Free movement and EU competences

Sophie in ‘t Veld MEP – Introduction

With the first panel, the seminar first discussed to what extent the free movement of same-sex families is a legal competence of the European Union.

Kaisa, Finnish citizen

Kaisa presented the situation she finds herself in with her same-sex life partner and their two children.

Dr Helen Toner, Warwick University School of Law

Dr Helen Toner suggested that the ultimate question was where to draw the line between mutual recognition, which is a competence of the EU, and substantive family law, which is a national competence.

Download her presentation

Salla Saastamoinen, DG Justice, European Commission

Head of Unit for Judicial co-operation in civil matters, Salla Saastamoinen presented the work undertaken by the European Commission in the area of matrimonial property, and upcoming work on the mutual recognition of the effects of civil status documents.

Pál Szirányi, Hungarian Presidency of the Council of the EU

Pál Szirányi reflected on the past adoption of other EU instruments in judicial co-operation for civil matters, and the prospects for current discussions from the perspective of the Council of the European Union.

Download his presentation

Panel 2: What solutions against discrimination?

Ulrike Lunacek MEP – Introduction

In this second panel, speakers looked at potential solutions to correct current gaps in European legislation.

Silvan Agius, ILGA-Europe

Silvan Agius provided a thorough overview of ILGA-Europe’s contribution to the European Commission consultation on mutual recognition of the effects of civil status documents.

Download his presentation

Ben Baks, Dutch Government

Ben Baks presented the Dutch Government’s position, making a strong case for mutual recognition on legal, moral and economic grounds.

Emma Reed, UK Government

Emma Reed also argued in favour of better between EU Member States on behalf of the Government of the United Kingdom.

Concluding remarks

Sophie in ‘t Veld MEP – Conclusion

Finally, Sophie in ‘t Veld concluded by asking why children in the European Union were denied their right to have their existing families recognised. She pledged to keep working on this issue and to ask the European Commission how it will address the current situation.