European Regulations 2016/1103 on matrimonial property regimes and 2016/1104 on the property consequences of registered partnerships become applicable on 29 January as part of an enhanced cooperation procedure currently involving 18 Member States: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden.
Thanks to these two Regulations, the conflict of laws rules are now unified between the Member States participating in the enhanced cooperation to determine the applicable law and the competent court which will decide on the division of assets in the event of, inter alia, separation of the couple or death. For example, for a Franco-German couple living in Brussels, the provisions of the regulations will allow them to choose between the law of their habitual residence (Belgian law) or that of their nationality (French or German law), thus providing them with more predictability and therefore legal certainty.
Mr Pierre-Luc Vogel, President of the Council of the Notariats of the European Union (CNUE), said: “The application of these two regulations is excellent news for European citizens who have close links with several Member States, for family or professional reasons. It is also a challenge for which the notaries of Europe are ready. We now call on other Member States to join the enhanced cooperation procedure.”
Raising awareness among practitioners and the general public: a priority for the CNUE
In partnership with the European Union, the CNUE has invested in the training of several thousand European notaries: http://www.notaries-of-europe.eu/index.php?pageID=16351
Via the platform of the European Notarial Network (www.enn-rne.eu), practical tools are also available to notaries in order to simplify the processing of their cross-border cases: a network of national interlocutors, legal databases, bilingual forms, a videoconferencing system, etc. In preparation for the implementation, explanatory handbooks on both regulations are available in several languages and for ten days at the following link: https://www.enn-rne.eu/observer_demo/eu#
The EUFides platform (www.eufides.eu) aims to facilitate online collaboration between European notaries. EUFides is a notarial cloud in which two notaries of different nationalities can exchange documents on the same file in a totally secure way. Seven notariats participate in this platform: the Belgian, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Luxembourg and Spanish notariats. Originally designed for the processing of cross-border real estate transactions, EUFides has been extended to other areas of notarial expertise: inheritance law, company law, etc.
Finally, for the general public, the “Couples in Europe” website (www.couples-europe.eu) provides citizens with information on the law of the Member States in the language of their choice. Launched at the end of 2012 with the European Commission’s support, it has now been visited nearly 1 million times, demonstrating that citizens have a significant need to be informed about their legal situation.