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European Commission


Brussels, 20 June 2013

Commission welcomes progress on proposals to clarify property rights for international couples

The European Commission has welcomed progress on two proposals to make life easier for international couples in the European Union, following a vote today in the European Parliament’s Committee on Legal Affairs (JURI). The Committee voted 23 in favour to 0 against, to back the Commission proposals to make property rights clearer for couples with assets in another EU country. The dual proposals will cover all couples, whether they are married or in a registered partnership.

"Today’s vote by the Legal Affairs Committee is another step forward for a Europe for citizens," said Vice-President Viviane Reding, the EU's Justice Commissioner. “The proposals will make life easier for couples buying property abroad, moving to another European country, or who have simply fallen in love across borders. Thanks to the work of rapporteur Alexandra Thein MEP, I am confident that our proposals will soon become law to lend an extra helping hand to citizens."


In Europe, there are around 16 million international couples, and at least 650,000 of them face questions every year relating to how to split property (a joint house or bank account for example) after their marriage or partnership comes to an end. Citizens lose time and money figuring out which law applies to their case and which court is competent to help them. Legal divergences between the 27 EU Member States create an incentive for "forum shopping" or a "rush to the court." This happens when one spouse rushes to a court where he/she thinks the outcome will be the most beneficial. The Commission proposals set out EU-wide rules to bring legal clarity to the property rights for married international couples and for registered partnerships with an international dimension (IP/11/320).

The Commission’s proposals require unanimous approval by the Council of Ministers and consultation by the European Parliament.

For more information

European Commission –civil justice:

Homepage of Vice-President Viviane Reding, EU Justice Commissioner:

Follow the Vice-President on Twitter: @VivianeRedingEU

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