The Risks of Being a Family in Cross Border Situations: the European Commission Adopts a Resolution to Protect Children’s Rights in the EU

The Risks of Being a Family in Cross Border Situations: the European Commission Adopts a Resolution to Protect Children’s Rights  in the EU
Photo by LIBER Europe from Flickr

Beatrice Serra

International Justice and Human Rights Researcher

Global Human Rights Defence

“It is unthinkable that a parent in one Member State is not recognised as a parent in another Member State. This put some children at risk, as they would not have guaranteed access to their rights…”. (Věra Jourová, Vice-President for Values and Transparency) These are the words representing the gap currently endangering the fundamental rights of thousands of children in the EU. As of today, families experiencing cross-border situations are exposed to time-consuming and expensive proceedings to protect a broader range of children’s rights, not exclusively limited to access to the territory, right of residence, and non-discrimination as provided by Union law. (European Commission, 2022) Such framework greatly discriminate rainbow families in countries hostile to same-sex marriage, such as Bulgaria and Poland, among others. In the case known as “Baby Sara Case” (2021),  the European Court of Justice tackled the matter ruling that member states are obliged to recognise the familial ties among the members of rainbow families, including those of rainbow families. Despite such a ruling representing a great step forwards for families across Europe, the implementation and full recognition of families rights and, above all, children’s rights is still an ongoing fight. (Ellena, 2022; ILGA-Europe, 2022)

Aware of the current gaps, on December 7, 2022, the European Commission adopted a proposal for a Resolution aiming at the promotion of a common European framework on private international law relating to parenthood. According to the new proposal, children in cross-border situations  will be immediately entitled to the national rights of the hosting member states as deriving from parenthood, such as succession, maintenance, custody or the right of parents to act as legal representatives of the child. (European Commission, 2022)

In waiting for the Council unanimous adoption, in consultation with the EU Parliament, it is worth recalling the words of the Commission President von der Leyen: “If you are parent in one country, you are parent in every country”. Not recognising such principle put children’s rights in danger, including their right to an identity, to non-discrimination and to a private and family life. The primordial scope of the EU and the whole international community must be to act in the best interests of the child without discriminating against how children were conceived or born and their type of family. (European Commission, 2022)

Sources and Further Readings:

European Commission (December 7, 2022), Equality package: Commission proposes new rules for the recognition of parenthood between Member States, EU Commission Press Release, retrieved on December 8, 2022, from

ILGA-Europe (January 31, 2022), How Baby Sara and her mums have pushed forward the rights of all rainbow families across the EU, ILGA-Europe, retrieved on December 8, 2022, from

  1. Ellena (December 7, 2022), EU Commission seeking to strengthen parents’ cross-border rights, Euractiv, retrieved on December 8, 2022, from