On 17 November, the first of three transnational roundtables took place at the University of Münster. The topic of the first transnational roundtable was early marriage. A total of 21 participants from various professional fields from Sweden, Belgium, Spain and Germany came together for the discussion.
The lively debate was divided into four parts. Firstly, the legal situation in each of the four countries was presented by one of the participants. This already revealed major differences in the legal situation in the individual countries, with, for example, a more classical (i.e. liberal) approach in Spain and a very clear (i.e. prohibitive) approach in Sweden.
The second part of the discussion focused on the actual practice of the authorities and courts in cases of underage marriage. First there was a presentation on the procedure of the central asylum authority (CGRS) in Belgium, then a participant from Sweden reported on the Swedish Migration Agency and finally there was a report on the German Youth Welfare Offices, which led to a general discussion.
In the third part, the factual situation of the young women concerned was presented in more detail. This also dealt with the distinction and overlap between forced marriage, arranged marriage and early marriage. In particular, the actual consequences for the young women in their social environment when their marriage is annulled in Europe were discussed.
In the final part of the roundtable, there was a general discussion on best practices, needed improvements and possible EU legislation. There was agreement that the best interests of the child must be paramount. Better communication between all authorities, including between countries, was also agreed as a needed improvement. There were many other interesting approaches such as hearing the child through specially trained professionals or a registration system to facilitate communication between the authorities.
The FAMIMOVE Team would like to thank the participants for the exciting discussion.

For more information, see the Section “About the Project” of FAMIMOVE website.

This blog has been authored by members of the University of Münster Team of the FAMIMOVE Project.

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