The European Parliament has proposed that experienced family law judges be given responsibility for dealing with cases involving child abduction between member states.
This would help to ensure the process of recovery remains focused on the best interests of the child, MEPs believe.
In addition, they suggest, children should be given a greater say in divorce cases, with the right to express an opinion without coming under inappropriate pressure.
During the debate which preceded the vote, MEPs noted that there are around 16 million families in the EU with members in or connections to more than one state. Every year approximately 140,000 of these divorce and as many 1,800 children are abducted.
Polish MEP Tadeusz Zwiefka insisted:
“The child is the weakest link in disputes between parents and therefore needs all the protection we can give. Notably, the hearing of the child is a key issue which merits detailed provisions.”
Thirdly, the MEPs want more information sharing between the judiciaries in each member state in cases involving child abduction from one country into another.
The bundle of measures was voted for by an overwhelming 562 votes to 16, with 43 abstentions. They will now proceed to the European Council for further consideration.