EU members look to marry up their divorce laws
Eight European Union members on Monday officially called for a tie-up between their divorce laws, in a bid to end a long-lasting EU stalemate on the issue, dpa reported.
The governments of Austria, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Luxembourg, Romania, Slovenia and Spain all wrote to the EU's executive body, the European Commission, asking it to draft a law setting a common standard for divorces between international couples on their territory.
The move comes after the EU's 27 member states failed to reach unanimity on the question of which law should apply in cases where a married couple in which the husband and wife come from different countries wants to get divorced.
Sweden blocked an EU-wide agreement, saying that any such move could leave Swedish citizens bound to follow other, less liberal laws.
EU figures say that some 170,000 multi-national marriages end in divorce in the union per year.
The move by the eight member states marks the first time that a group of EU countries has asked for so-called "enhanced cooperation" on a sensitive issue.
The concept of enhanced cooperation was set up in the EU's 2001 Nice Treaty and was aimed to allow groups of not fewer than eight states to work closely together in areas in which other member states rejected cooperation.
However, since then EU members have preferred to work by consensus.