Harriet Harman

Member of Parliament for Camberwell and Peckham. Mother of the House of Commons.

Cross border couples need more help, says Harriet


With nearly one in five divorces in Europe having a cross-border element, countries of the EU must work together to make sure family justice operates effectively, family Justice Minister Harriet Harman said today.

Meeting Members of the European Parliament and European Commission in Brussels, Rt Hon Harriet Harman QC MP said;

“More and more families include parents and children born and living in different countries.

“It’s important family justice works across different European countries not just for couples living in separate countries, but above all for their children.

"It is essential the Commission brings forward proposals in family justice which can work despite the differences in family law around Europe, and on which we can all agree."

Harriet Harman is in Brussels meeting MEPs and members of the European Commission to take forward discussion on family justice issues across Europe.

Notes for Editors

1.    The European Commission has estimated that;

  • There are around 875,000 divorces in the EU each year. 170,000, or 19%, have an international element.
  • There are 2.2 million marriages in the EU each year. Around 350, 000 of these marriages are international

2.    DCA Ministers Harriet Harman and Baroness Ashton are in Brussels on 24th January and will meet:

  • Franco Frattini, Vice President European Commission
  • Francisco Fonesca Morillo, Director of Civil Justice, Rights and Citizenship Directorate at the European Commission;
  • Michael Cashman, MEP
  • Genowefa Gabrowska, MEP

3.    Any further media enquiries on this news release should be directed to Michael Duncan or Paul Halford at the DCA Press Office on Tel. 020 7210 1398 /8695.


(Press release from the Department for Constitutional Affairs)

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