22.06.2012: AGF Expert Meeting on Family Reunification

According to the current EU debate, AGF has invited to an expert meeting on the right to family reunification. A special focus was on the situation in Germany, Austria and the Netherlands, which have rather restrictive regulations. Participants widely critisised the implementation of the EU Directive on family reunification in these Member States.

The expert meeting on family reunification took place on 22 June near Potsdamer Platz in Berlin.The experts invited from academia, politics and family as well as migration organisations across Europe discussed the applicable regulations of family reunification within the EU Member States as well as their impact on the families.

Speeches referring to the situation in Germany, Austria and the Netherlands showed that it is still the politics’ sceptical attitude towards migration that determine the regulations of family reunification – instead of the needs of the families affected.

Participants strongly critisised that. There was a debate especially about pre-entry integration conditions, such as language skills which have to be acquired in the home country. These measures were clearly stated to delay or even hinder family reunification. Questioned was also the missing acknowledgement of family diversity when families or couples with foreign partners are concerned. Different to in-country relationships, traditional family models are demanded when it comes to an application for family reunification with third country nationals. Thus, mostly only married partners and the core family of father, mother and children will be considered. Regarding these differences and the existing pluralistic family models, participants called for a reality-check.

Concerning the EU level, the meeting revealed a tendency of the EU Commission to set up clarifying guidelines to secure the aim of the family reunification directive. Already in May, a number of NGOs from all about Europe signed a call to ease family reunification and brought up the question of measures in case of infringement, which was also part of the discussion at the expert meeting.

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