7th European Integration Forum - The right to family reunification of Third Country Nationals living in the EU

31 May/1 June 2012,
Brussels, Belgium
- EIF forum

Organiser: European Commission, European Economic and Social Committee

EIF logoThe 7th meeting of this European platform on migrant integration for representatives of civil society took the form of a public hearing on the right to family reunification of Third Country Nationals living in the EU. The outcome of the public consultation on family reunification held from November 2011 until March 2012 was discussed. At stake is a revision of the common rules, which the EU has had since 2003 (and already reviewed in 2008) on the conditions under which family members of a non-EU citizen, legally resident in a Member State, are allowed to enter and reside in the EU.

NGOs in the Forum generally pleaded for a relaxation of the rules on family reunification, thereby opposing the stricter regimes, which Member States favour.

Platform for Intercultural Europe delegate Tarafa Baghajati pointed out that migrants can only embrace their receiving society fully from the base of secure family life – intercultural engagement cannot happen with forcefully split families. He also said that family reunification was ‘facilitated immigration’ and should be considered an advantage where it is necessary to sustain the demographic development of a country. Tarafa regretted that the prevalent attitude to family reunification cases is suspicion of forced and fake marriages. The minimum age of 21 for both partners in the case of family reunification through marriage amounted to a violation of the principle of equal treatment, he said, given that the marriageable age is normally 18.

Read the summary report on the 7th EIF. Go here for presentations and speeches and here for photos. 

See Tarafa Baghajati’s comments (in German) on the very strict interpretation of the EU rules in Austria in the Wiener Zeitung.

For a light-hearted take on family reunification see Pie Tshibanda's show (in French).

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