Summary: Free movement of LGBT families in the EU

On 6 March 2013, the LGBT Intergroup met to discuss the free movement of same-sex couples and their families in the European Union. A large audience listened to representatives from civil society, the European Commission, the Dutch government, MEPs and academics discuss ongoing and future work.


Photos © Pietro Naj-Oleari / European Parliament 2013

Invisible Parents

Introducing the event, Michael Cashman MEP presented the Invisible Parents video, a viral ad that presents the situation of LGBT families moving around in Europe.

Event report

Agnes Uhereczki, COFACE

Opening the first panel “A botched job: Limited free movement for same-sex couples and their families”, the Director of the Confederation of Family Organisations in the European Union started by presenting the concept of vulnerable families, and pointing to a range of problems various types of families face in the European Union.

Luís Amorim, NELFA

As Board member of the Network of European LGBT Families Associations, Luís Amorim described in details how LGBT families see their free movement restricted, including through three real-life cases.

Dr Jorrit Rijpma, Leiden University Law School

Dr Jorrit Rijmpa presented various aspects of EU law pertaining to families’ free movement, and clarified the distinction between EU law and free movement on the one hand, and national law and substantial family rights on the other hand.

Joël Le Déroff, ILGA-Europe

Opening the second panel “What solutions against discrimination?”, Joël Le Déroff from ILGA-Europe showed the evolution over time of same-sex couples’ rights being opened up gradually across Member States, and suggested what EU law should guarantee to accompany these changes.

Markus Zalewski, European Commission

From the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Justice, Markus Zalewski insisted on the fact that judicial decisions given by a Member State’s judiciary authority must be recognised across the EU, and presented the Commission’s current work in this field.

Ben Baks, Government of the Netherlands

Concluding the second panel, Ben Baks explained how the Dutch Government sees the matter: a political, civil, legal and moral case for change, so that cross-border problems are reduced, rather than multiplied, in the years to come.

Alexandra Thein MEP, Rapporteur on property regimes

Concluding the event, Alexandra Thein MEP described ongoing discussions about two future EU laws on the property consequences of married and registered couples, and how these should positively impact all couples’ free movement in the EU.