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Family Reunification - EU must safeguard family life of migrants and refugees


15 May 2012


Justice & Home Affairs

Caritas Europa calls on the European Commission and EU Member States to guarantee the effective right to family life and family reunification for all migrants and beneficiaries of international protection. A joint statement by Caritas Europa and 19 other NGOs, has been sent to the European Commission and Member States today.

Brussels, 15 May 2012 - Caritas Europa finds unacceptable that the European Commission is turning a blind eye to the fact that a series of Member States are not complying with the EU Family Reunification Directive. The European Commission has been aware of this situation since 2008 when it published an evaluation report that cast the spotlight on Member States' failure to transpose the Directive into law.

Caritas Europa urges the European Commission to start infringement procedures against the Member States that are still not complying with the current EU rules. In particular, in relation to visa facilitation, excessive requirements on fees for family reunification, proportionality of integration measures and additional material conditions, and evidence requirements in particular for beneficiaries of international protection.

Caritas Europa considers family to be an inalienable value that corresponds to the deepest needs and dignity of the person. Moreover, family reunification is a right protected by article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights and article 7 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights.

Hence, Caritas Europa calls on the European Commission and Member States to address the following 8 points:

- Remove practical obstacles to family reunification.

- Make waiting periods and length of procedures as short as possible 

- Evaluate proportionality of and accessibility to integration measures for family reunification.

- Make equality and proportionality guiding principles of any material or housing condition. 

- Beneficiaries of subsidiary protection must be entitled to the same favourable rules as refugees.

- Clarify that the minimum age limit for spouses should be the age of majority and reassess how to fight forced marriages.

- Clarify the definition of family members and of dependent relatives entitled to family reunification, based on proportionality and non-discrimination.

- Guarantee access to independent residence permit.

For more information contact:

Karolina Babicka 

Policy and Advocacy Officer

Migration and Asylum 

Tel: +32 2 235 26 55

Mob: +32 478 585 409  


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