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Chair of PACE Migration Committee calls for improvements in the EU Family Reunification Directive

Strasbourg, 13.02.2012 – “Family reunification is an important element of the right to family life and an essential part of the integration process for migrants,” said Giacomo Santini (Italy, EPP/CD), Chair of the Migration Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), following the approval by the committee of a position paper on reform of the EU Family Reunification Directive.

“The committee in its position paper has clearly stated that while the Family Reunification Directive has provided a sound basis for clarifying and promoting family reunification and represents a minimum standard, there are improvements which could be made,” explained Mr Santini. “However, any attempts by states to water down the minimum standards in the current Directive, should be rejected by the European Commission outright,” he said.

Mr Santini explained that the position paper on family reunification approved by the Migration Committee was based on a number of concerns the Assembly had already raised back in its Recommendation 1686 (2004) on human mobility and the right to family reunification. Some of the concerns include the lack of a common definition of family reunification, the extensive possibilities for states to derogate or opt for alternative measures, the strictness of certain measures adopted by states which make family reunification difficult or impossible for certain persons and the lack of recognition, for family reunification, of persons granted subsidiary protection. Mr Santini concluded by saying: “These matters all need careful attention by the Commission taking careful note of the right to family life under the European Convention on Human Rights and its case-law.”