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Divorce: your place or mine?

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Divorce: your place or mine?

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Ten EU members want to go their separate ways over mixed-nationality divorces, but the European Commission is stopping them.

EU law allows groups of at least eight members to apply EU-level rules to them even if the legislation has not been approved by all the others. This is called ‘enhanced cooperation’.

The Czech EU presidency, at a meeting of the justice ministers, agreed to open a debate on the subject, even though the bloc’s justice commissioner Jacques Barrot warns ‘let’s not’. He says it could lead to too great a variation in family law rights from one state to another. The question is which law to apply when two different members’ citizens want a divorce. In 2006, the Commission proposed that courts go by the law of the country where most of the marriage was lived. Sweden said absolutely not, because it did not want Swedes ruled by divorce laws any less liberal than in Sweden. The UK is not in the group calling for enhanced cooperation.