LGBTI organisations welcome EU parental recognition proposal with the best interests of the child at its core

EU-wide parenthood recognition is key in ensuring equal protection for all children in the Union, say ILGA-Europe and NELFA.

Today, the European Commission published a proposal for a Council Regulation on recognition of parenthood, which sets out the full recognition of parenthood for cross-border movement within the EU, while ensuring every child’s fundamental rights are fully protected everywhere in the EU.

According to Europe’s LGBTI umbrella organisation, ILGA-Europe, and the Network of European LGBTIQ* Families (NELFA), this is a major step forward for bringing legal security for children in cross-border situations to have their family life protected and having both their parents recognised across the EU. Currently, many children, including children of LGBTI parents, ‘lose one parent’ when crossing a border because of parenthood not being recognised.

The Council Regulation builds on recent rulings of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), particularly the one delivered in the case of Baby Sara in Bulgaria (V.М.А. v Stolichna obshtina), requiring EU member states to recognise a parent-child relationship for the purposes of permitting a child to exercise without impediment, with each parent, the right to move and reside freely within the territory of all the member states, as guaranteed in Article 21(1) Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU). 

The current lack of recognition of parental ties in cross-border situations means that a parent in one country is not always a parent in another country. Moving from one EU member state to another, for holidays or residence, children might ‘lose’ a parent and in very serious cases, such as the Baby Sara case, have ended up being stateless. This lack of parental recognition can have very serious negative consequences for children in rainbow families, such as depriving them of their succession, or their right to have any one of their parents act as their legal representative in matters such as medical treatments, childcare and education.

In line with international human rights law, the proposal puts the best interests of the child at the core, to ensure that children’s right to identity, nationality, non-discrimination and succession and maintenance rights are protected across the EU. This is a major step forward, which LGBTI rights organisations, including ILGA-Europe and NELFA, have consistently lobbied for until now. In doing so, the regulation addresses broader family issues, and thus does not interfere with the substantive law on family matters which falls within the competence of member states. 

According to Executive Director of ILGA-Europe, Evelyne Paradis: “Ensuring that children have their parents fully recognised when moving across the EU is an essential condition for their best interests and their fundamental rights. This proposed law is doing so, without impeding on the competence of member states to define a family and establish parenthood under their jurisprudence.

“Currently, rainbow and other families often face a burden to establish filiation through court systems and the legal costs that entail. Having legal certainty on recognition will reduce serious concerns and problems that rainbow families face when travelling or moving in the EU.”

President of NELFA, Eleni Maravelia, says: “Rainbow Families in Europe are very pleased with the legislative proposal by the European Commission, because it would strengthen the rights of children in cross-border situations, as guaranteed by the Treaties. In particular, the new law can help to avoid longer periods of statelessness and other serious legal limbo effects for minors – including the loss of essential familial ties, social benefits and parental obligations. Unfortunately, many children still experience such difficulties in the European Union in various shapes and shades. It’s time for a change. Every child needs full recognition and protection, regardless of their living environment.”

ILGA-Europe and NELFA will now work with MEPs and EU governments to ensure that the proposal is supported through the European Parliament and Council, and that the aim of the proposal is maintained in the final legislation.


ILGA-Europe also welcome today’s publication of a proposal to set binding minimum standards for Equality Bodies by the European Commission. The proposal would strengthen the independence, powers and resources of equality bodies in EU Member States. However, we regret that the European Commission is not proactively seeking ways to include the protection of trans and intersex people in the proposal. Working with Equinet and their membership, ILGA-Europe has seen a lot of interest in widening protection to fully include trans, intersex and non-binary people, and many countries across Europe have started to include gender identity and sex characteristics in their list of protected grounds.

Says Evelyne Paradis: “While we recognise the limitations of the EU treaty, the EC should, in line with EU case law and international human rights standards, encourage member states to not exclude large parts of the LGBTI community from their anti-discrimination protection.”


For further comment, contact: Ana Muñoz Padrós, ILGA-Europe: ana@ilga-europe.org

See also

News

Joint statement in support of South African athlete Caster Semenya

ILGA-Europe, The International Commission of Jurists and the organisation Intersex International Europe jointly file a third-party intervention before the Grand Chamber of the European Court […]
read more
News

EU Court of Justice Advocate General calls for automatic recognition of legal gender recognition in birth certificates

In a significant development regarding the rights of trans people in the European Union, the Advocate General of the Court of Justice of the European […]
read more
News

European court to hear landmark case regarding discrimination against non-binary people

The Court of Justice of the European Union is to decide on lawsuit over the lack of provision of an option for non-binary persons, which […]
read more
Report

EU Enlargement Review 2024

ILGA-Europe together with ERA – the LGBTI Rights Association for the Western Balkans and Turkey, presents this LGBTI Enlargement Review 2024 assessing gaps in legislation […]
read more
Report

Inventory of relevant SOGIESC case law and pending cases before the ECtHR and CJEU

In order to focus our strategic litigation efforts across Europe to fully protect and advance LGBTI rights, with this inventory ILGA-Europe wants to support members […]
read more
News

Joint statement: “Building an inclusive European Union of Equality”

We noted the advances in Equality which have been made by the European Union during this mandate. The appointment of the first-ever Commissioner for Equality […]
read more
Report

Our submission to the EC 2024 Rule of Law report

Over the past few years it has become increasingly clear that many government-led violations of LGBTI rights in EU Member States go hand-in-hand with an […]
read more
News

Greece adopts historic bill introducing marriage equality

We welcome and celebrate with local activists the news that the Greek parliament has adopted an historic bill introducing marriage equality, granting marriage and adoption […]
read more
Blog

Attacks on LGBTI rights in Italy are human rights violations, Commissioner reports

Since the new Italian government came into power in 2022, it has been toying with the rights of LGBTI people. Draft legislation that would do […]
read more
News

Poland must ensure that same-sex couples are legally recognised, European Court rules

The European Court of Human Rights has issued a judgement against Poland in a case taken by five same-sex couples in the country, seeking to […]
read more
News

JOINT STATEMENT ON HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN ITALY

Today, November 20, we celebrate UN World Children’s Day, and feel compelled to draw attention to the recent developments in Italy where some children no […]
read more
News

Joint statement: Respect LGBTI+ rights in EU-Türkiye relations

Today, alongside five other international human rights organisations, we demand that the EU takes specific steps to ensure respect for the human rights of LGBTI […]
read more
News

Significant European Court judgments in two cases concerning violence against LGBTI people involving state agents

Two successful European Court cases brought against Russia underline state obligations to protect LGBTI community from violent counter demonstrators and general hate motivated violence.
read more
News

Romania failed to protect same-sex couples, European court rules

European court has found that Romania breached the right to respect for the family life of 21 same-sex Romanian couples by failing to recognise their relationships.
read more
Report

EU LGBTIQ Equality Strategy – Second year implementation evaluation

Half-way through, the evaluation of LGBTI organisations is positive, but also pointing clearly to where more is needed to ensure the implementation of the strategy […]
read more
Report

EU Enlargement Review 2023

ILGA-Europe has worked with ERA – LGBTI Rights Association for the Western Balkans and Turkey, to produce our annual LGBTI Enlargement Review, assessing gaps in […]
read more
Blog

The infringement against Hungary: Behind the scenes

As the deadline for member states to decide whether they will join the European Commission’s lawsuit against Hungary for its introduction of anti-LGBTI legislation fast approaches, we look at the vital work ILGA-Europe has been doing behind the scenes to bring this case before the EU Court of Justice and to bring countries on board.
read more
Press Release

Romanian transgender man’s landmark case requesting that Romania acknowledges his UK gender recognition referred to the Court of Justice of the European Union

Arian Mirzarafie-Ahi, a transgender man with Romanian and British citizenship, has filed a first-of-its-kind lawsuit in Romania against Romanian authorities over their refusal to recognize […]
read more
Blog

For good and bad: The trending impacts on LGBTI human rights in Europe and Central Asia

The most striking finding of ILGA-Europe’s Annual Review 2023 is a stark rise in the ferocity of anti-LGBTI hate and violence reported in Europe and Central Asia. But alongside this worrying trend, there are positive developments in areas such as legal gender recognition, public support, intersex human rights and civil society. Here are the key highlights.
read more
News

Bulgaria’s Supreme Court Rejects Baby Sara’s Bulgarian Citizenship

Arguing that Baby Sara is not a Bulgarian citizen, the country’s Supreme Administrative Court (SAC) said that their decision not to grant a birth certificate […]
read more
News

European Court rules against Lithuania labelling LGBTI-inclusive fairytale book harmful to children

Published in 2013 by the Lithuanian University of Educational Sciences and written by the late lesbian writer, Neringa Dangvyde Macate, the book was entitled ‘Amber […]
read more
News

After Polish Case, CJEU Rules to Protect Self-employed Workers based on Sexual Orientation

In December 2017, a self-employed worker and his partner published a music video on YouTube aimed at promoting tolerance towards same-sex couples. Shortly after the […]
read more
News

Sexual orientation is not a reason to terminate a contract with a self-employed worker, says Advocate General of the CJEU

Today, the Advocate General of the CJEU has issued an opinion in the case of J.K. vs the Polish public broadcaster company TP, stating that discrimination based on sexual orientation in employment is not acceptable under EU law.
read more
Blog

Update: The Rights of Rainbow Families in the EU

The Court of Justice of the EU has ruled in two occasions over recent months that EU countries must protect the freedom of movement of rainbow families. This is a right all EU citizens should enjoy, LGBTI people too. In today’s blog, we bring you the state of LGBTI people’s family rights in different EU countries.
read more
News

Rainbow families have the right to move and reside freely, EU court reiterates

The Court of Justice of the EU has stated that birth certificates issued in an EU country must be recognised across the EU, and that EU countries should protect the freedom of movement of rainbow families.
read more
News

Complaint Filed with EC Against Lack of Free Movement for Same-sex Couples in Hungary

ILGA-Europe, alongside a Hungarian activist organisation, have filed a complaint against Hungary because of its refusal to implement the 2018 Coman judgement, which recognises that […]
read more
News

Bulgarian Court Rules Baby Sara Must Be Issued Birth Certificate

A Bulgarian court has ordered city hall authorities in the capital city of Sofia to issue a birth certificate to the baby born to a […]
read more
Case Law

A.B. and K.V. v Romania

Recognition of same-sex marriages in the context of freedom of movement in the EU through the prism of implementation of CJEU’s Coman judgment Submitted jointly […]
read more
News

European Commission and Council should refrain from approving recovery funds to the governments of Poland and Hungary

An Urgent call on the European Commission and the Council of europe to refrain from approving recovery funds to the governments of Poland and Hungary, […]
read more
Blog

The 5 trending attacks on the fundamental rights of LGBTI people in the EU in 2021

Right now, as the war on Ukraine escalates, democracy, human rights and equality matter more than ever in Europe. In our submission to the European Commission’s annual Rule of Law report, we’ve identified key trends in the systematic attacks on the rights of LGBTI people across EU member states.
read more