Unmarried couples from different EU member states should be entitled to decide which country’s property law will apply if their relationship ends or one partner dies, MEPs have declared.
European MPs voted by a large majority to amend draft legislation which would give married couples that right, extending the provision to all couples in ‘registered partnerships, regardless of gender. It would affect couples of different nationalities, expatriate couples and couples who own assets in different countries within the EU, Family Law Week reports.
MEP Alexandra Thein said:
“International couples in registered partnerships face the same problems as married ones and so should have the same right to choose which country’s law applies to their property. The Commission proposal would have treated them unequally and I am very pleased that we have removed this inequity.”
Couples would only be able to choose from countries they have a close connection to – for example, their countries of origin or those where they are ‘habitually resident’ (usually live). The countries must also legally recognise their partnerships.
However, the new law will not apply to United Kingdom, Denmark, or Ireland, as these countries have opted out of the applicable EU treaties.