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European Council agrees more effective rules to resolve cross-border parental responsibility issues

Work will continue on finalising the text of the revised regulations

The European Council has agreed revisions of the Brussels IIa regulation which sets out rules on jurisdiction, recognition and enforcement of decisions in matrimonial matters and the matters of parental responsibility, as well as on intra-EU child abduction.

The Council aims at improving the current legal EU rules that protect children in the context of cross-border parental responsibility disputes related to custody, access rights and child abduction.

Josef Moser, Minister of Justice of Austria, said:

"The best interest and wellbeing of our children come first. We have agreed today on new rules to make sure that international child abduction and other cross-border parental responsibility issues are dealt with effectively and that decisions are applied swiftly. We cannot let the daily life of a child to be undermined because of problems of cross border judicial cooperation."

The new rules amend the existing Brussels IIa regulation on a number of aspects and foresee in particular:

The proposal was presented by the Commission on 30 June 2016. It is subject to the special legislative procedure which requires unanimity in the Council after consultation of the European Parliament. All Member states, except Denmark, are party to this legislation.

The opinion of the Parliament was delivered on 18 January 2018.

Work will continue on finalising the text in view of a political agreement.

For the Proposal for a Council Regulation (general approach), click here. For the opinion of the European Parliament, click here. For the Council's press release, click here.