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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Cross-border divorces in the EU, 2010

As promised, I'm no longer writing long posts with a lot of news. Obviously people don't have the time to read all those articles I paste and anyway, observing the piracy-madness, I prefer to avoid quoting other sources too much.

So, what I wanted to talk about today are cross-border EU divorces. People in Bulgaria would probably know why I find this important, since we have one incident with children from Czech-Bulgarian marriage that turned very ugly. In the end, the children went back to their mother in Czech republic, the Bulgarian father probably wont see them again, even though he raised them for the past years, while their mother was working abroad. As for justice - there's none. And this is very very wrong!

I personally think that the institution of marriage is one of the most evil things human mind created. I know it's very beautiful, the white gown and the veil and the ritual, but life is more than that. Once upon the time, people lived 35 years averagely. Life was hard and usually they didn't even think to divorce, the only thing they thought was survival. But now the average life expectancy is 70-75, sometimes even more. In the rich countries, people are sexually active until they late 50s or sometimes 60s. If you marry someone in your 20s, this makes 30 or even 40 years spent with one person. That could be wonderful. But let's be realistic, you never know how this would end. And since the time when the society killed infidel women with stones is over, infidel men usually leave their families anyway, so...laws and regulations should follow that change. And marriage is something old and useless. It doesn't stop people from breaking up, it doesn't stop fathers from not taking care of their children or mothers from leaving. This signature - it's nothing!

If you want to make a church ritual, so be it. Once upon the time, that was enough to declare your love and decision to live with someone. Now, it is not. Now, you have to sign a contract. Sure, they don't call it like this, but it is a contract. Or maybe an informed agreement. Agreement that you give up part of your freedom to the state, so that they will regulate your relations with that other person. A person that you now love, tomorrow, who knows. But in the end, it's not love that should be regulated, no? What this agreement regulates is property and inheritance lines and children care. That's all. If that is all, then isn't it wiser that these things are regulated in an outside contract that the two sides will sign and the state will be left out of it?

I know a lot of people marry when they decide to have children. But I really don't understand why. Because usually the court gives the children to the mother, if she's not dangerous and the father has to pay (or the father pays to the court to give the children to him, which is even worst!). In that case, why there should be a court at all?Just put it in the law, that if the father puts his name in the child's birth certificate, then he has to take both financial and emotional responsibility for that child. And that's all. As for the property - you can always make an official (or private) will and everything will be fine. Marriage is not a need anymore. It's just an old and I think dying tradition.

Why I say all this? Because when the authorities make new laws, they should keep in mind how the traditions change and how the needs of people change. A number of things are no longer important, like alimony for example. I mean why would anyone have to pay to his wife (or husband) any money except for child support. Women are not kids who should be supported until they find another husband to take care of them! So this thing is simply wrong. On the other side, child support is much more complicated now. Fathers are no longer just a financial supporter, they must take real care of their children, to be a person in their life, not just a name. That's important, it must be part of the laws. But abusive fathers have no right to be near their children, no matter who they beat - the mother or the children. I think those important things should enter in the EU regulations. Not just in which country people to divorce, but also what rights should both parents have after the divorce. It's so sad when a father (or a mother) have no right to spend quality time with their child(ren). Like half of the time. It's simply right. And I sincerely hope that the EC would start acting adequately. The EC as well as the member states themselves. I mean, what difference makes from which country are the children, they are all children and they have similar rights and interests. That should be the important part, not ... to protect one of the parents just because s/he is your citizen. There are universal rights, we have to protect them. But at least, now we have a start. Maybe one day, we wont witness such ugly scenes like the one I have in my mind. The one in which the Czech mother takes her children while their screaming and crying and she takes them far far away, where the father won't ever see them and the court will agree with whatever she claims, just because its "us" vs. "them". Who are we, who are they? We're no longer enemies, we're no longer the others. We're part of one Union, where we're all equal. And that is what is important.

The other article is on EU citizens' initiatives. It's quite interesting article on the rules that a petition should respect so that the EC consider it. Interesting, I wonder why they made the rules so strict and undoable. Are they afraid of us citizens? I hope yes :)
  1. Brussels to table cross-border EU divorce rules
  2. EU to kick off citizens' initiative with tougher rules

Brussels to table cross-border EU divorce rules

24 March 2010
The European Commission will today (24 March) propose new rules to regulate divorces for international couples in a bid to prevent so-called 'forum shopping', where spouses seek to gain an advantage over their partner by filing their case in the country that best serves their interests.

International couples often find themselves in a legislative jungle when filing for divorce because national laws can conflict with one another.

Former spouses usually turn to their national courts in search of the most advantageous legislation, often at the expense of their partner.

As a result, "the spouse who has more financial resources is likely to gain an unfair advantage over the 'weaker' spouse," the Commission argues.

Under Commissioner Reding's proposal, couples will be able to decide jointly where they want to file for divorce. Couples could also agree a preventive arrangement even if they do not plan to separate, a step which could be beneficial for their children.

For when a couple cannot agree which national legislation should apply, the Commission proposes introducing a hierarchy, with the couple's country of residence at the top of the list.

If agreed, the new rules would affect around 32 million people living in the European Union. Of the 122 million marriages that take place every year, 16 million (13%) can be considered cross-border.

To be considered 'international' a couple must be either of different nationalities, or of the same nationality but living together either in a different EU country (for example, an Austrian couple residing in Spain) or separately in different countries (one partner living in Italy and the other living in France).

Faced with resistance from some member states - including Sweden, Poland and the Czech Republic - the Commission has decided to go ahead with a group of vanguard countries.

Austria, Bulgaria, France, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Luxembourg, Romania, Slovenia and Spain have agreed to proceed, making use for the first time of the 'enhanced cooperation' mechanism contained in the EU treaties (EurActiv 18/03/10).

The mechanism allows a group of at least nine member states to go ahead on a specific issue, leaving the others free to join in later if they wish.

In order to be applied, the mechanism needs to be supported by a qualified majority of member states in the EU Council of Ministers. The European Parliament also has to take a vote of approval. source

EU to kick off citizens' initiative with tougher rules

31 March 2010
A conspicuous amount of personal data will be required and specific conditions adhered to before citizens can propose legislation under the citizens' initiative introduced by the Lisbon Treaty, according to a new regulation seen by EurActiv, set to be presented by the European Commission tomorrow (31 March).

The principle of the new citizens' initiative is that "whilst it does not affect the Commission's right of initiative, it will, however, oblige the Commission, as a college, to give serious consideration to the requests made by citizens," reads the draft regulation, which the EU executive will make public on Wednesday.

Citizens will therefore be empowered to directly participate in the legislative process. The EU institutions hope the new instrument will help to address the democracy gap which they have put in the spotlight, especially by repeatedly saying 'no' in referenda on the Lisbon Treaty.

To do so, a number of conditions have to be met.

As already stated by the Lisbon Treaty, any citizens' legislative initiative has to be supported by at least one million signatories.

The one million signatories must come from at least one third of EU nations - nine countries as long as the bloc remains at 27 members.

Each citizens' initiative should be first registered and then subject to an admissibility check by the Commission, once the organisers have collected at least 300,000 statements of support. The EU executive will have to assess the admissibility of the proposal within two months.

The signatures can be collected "in paper form or electronically," provided that they respect a number of specific parameters. They must be gathered "within a period that shall not exceed 12 months," after which the process should start again.

If a citizens' initiative is presented according to the rules, the Commission will have to issue a communication within four months of submitting the initiative. But the EU executive is not legally obliged to trigger any legislative action in response to the collection of signatures.

Each signatory of a statement of support will have to provide a variety of personal data, including name, street address, email address, date and place of birth, nationality and personal identification numbers (passport; ID card; and social security). All this is needed to prevent fraud.source

Commission unveils workplan for 2010 and beyond - Tackling the economic crisis and its social impact are the European Commission's top priorities for the next year and beyond. But the EU executive's work plan was branded by the socialists as "a job-loss programme".

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