Civil Society's call for correct implementation of EU law on family reunification gets quick support from Commission
Less than 15 days after the publication of the Civil Society’s joint statement calling on the European Commission to “stop turning a blind eye to the fact that a series of Member States are not complying with the EU’s Family Reunification Directive”, the European Commissioner for Home Affairs, Cecilia Malmström, has announced that the Commission will monitor closely the implementation of the Directive in Member States and will ensure its correct implementation by starting infringement procedures where necessary or by issuing interpretative guidelines
Brussels, 05 June 2012 - This announcement was delivered on the occasion of the public hearing on “The Right to Family Reunification of Third Country Nationals living in the EU” organised by the European Integration Forum (EIF) on 31 May – 1 June. During her speech, Commissioner Malmström, also said that the joint statement includes some very valuable points for the interpretative guidelines. The statement, which was initially supported by Caritas Europa along with 19 other NGOs, counts currently with the support of over 70 organisations.
Peter Verhaeghe, Caritas Europa’s Head of the Advocacy Unit and a member of the EIF’s Bureau, welcomes Commissioner Malmström’s pledge; “I am happy that the Commission is taking our statement into serious consideration and have already identified valuable interpretative guidelines in it. These could be very useful since some Member State seem to overestimate their margin of discretion. Interpretative guidelines, even if not legally binding, could help practitioners, lawyers, judges and national authorities to correctly interpret the Directive.”
After the opening session, participants in the public hearing went on to discuss integration measures, the right to family reunification, asylum related issues, and misuse of the right.
General conclusions and discussions of the participants at the public hearing lead to the following points:
Regarding the topic of abuse, Caritas Europa Migration Officer, Karolina Babicka, says “It is very important for all Caritas in Europe that Governments stop exaggerating the true amount of abuses. Their approach only foster xenophobia and racism, violating the right of family reunification of migrants” and she added; “for instance, look at the research from the European Migration Network presented today. It clearly shows that with regards to marriages of convenience, suspicious cases rise to maximum of 1% of all cases of family reunification. This means that Member states are combating fraud in a way that takes hostage of 99% of genuine families and adopting preventative restrictive measures not based on any real evidence.”
Caritas Europa expects the follow up to be transparent and inclusive as promised by Commissioner Malmström. The network also expects the Commission to effectively and closely monitor the situation in the Member States and ensure the right implementation of the directive in Member States
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