The Council of the Notariats of the European Union (CNUE) welcomes the adoption today by the Council of the European Union of the two proposals for regulations on matrimonial property regimes and the property consequences of registered partnerships. The texts will become applicable in the next two and a half years, as part of an enhanced cooperation procedure currently involving 18 Member States: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden. Estonia has already announced its wish to be part of the cooperation.
For Mr Paolo Pasqualis, the CNUE President, “the Notaries of Europe welcome these two regulations, which will bring greater legal certainty for couples in Europe. Furthermore, they provide a useful complement to the regulation on international successions, which has been applicable since 17 August 2015. We now call upon the other Member States to join the enhanced cooperation procedure quickly, in the interests of all European citizens".
Notaries are among the first legal advisors of citizens and their families in Europe. They observe the increasing number of multinational couples and couples who may live in several countries during their life together. Yet these couples often face legal uncertainty and additional costs when they have to share their assets in the event of separation or death. Currently, it can be very difficult for them to know which courts have jurisdiction and which legislation applies to their situation and property. The rules are very different from one country to the next and sometimes generate conflicts, which are a source of financial cost.
With the adoption of the regulations, the conflict-of-law rules between the Member States participating in the enhanced cooperation will now be unified at European level. For example, for a Franco-German couple living in Brussels, the provisions in the regulations will enable them to choose in advance the law of their habitual residence (Belgian law) or that of their nationality (French or German law), providing them with more predictability and therefore legal certainty.
Furthermore, the CNUE recalls that, thanks to the Couples in Europe website (www.couples-europe.eu), EU citizens can access information on the laws relating to matrimonial property regimes and partnerships of all the countries in the European Union in the language of their choice. Launched at the end of 2012 with the European Commission’s support, the website has been visited more than 550,000 times, proving that citizens have a considerable need for information on their legal situation.