And Then There Were … Seventeen!
Estonia has recently joined the Rome III Regulation (EU) No. 1259/2010 on enhanced cooperation in the area of the law applicable to divorce and legal separation, increasing the number of participating Member States to seventeen. The Decision of the Commission of 10 August 2016 has been published in (2016) OJ L 216/13. Before, Lithuania and Greece had already joined the original fourteen participating Member States. Contrary to some dire forecasts made at the time when the Rome III Regulation was adopted, this instrument has turned out to be rather successful, being now in force in a clear majority of Member States. Rome III shall apply to Estonia from 11 February 2018. Article 3 of the said Council’s decision contains specific transitional provisions, in particular with regard to choice-of-law agreements.
You seen to be satisfied with this Decision. Do you really think it is a good news to have another Member State aplying a rather conservative instrument as regards, for instance, egalitarian marriages?
Thanks for your comment! Yet, with due respect, I do not think that labeling Rome III a “conservative” instrument is appropriate. First, the Regulation extends party autonomy to the law applicable to divorce, which is fairly new to most Member States. Second, it replaces the spouses’ nationality as the traditional main connecting factor by their habitual residence, thus modernizing PIL as well. Third, it even contains a special public policy clause (Article 10) that is specifically designed to fight discriminatory laws. So, what’s not to like from a progressive point of view? It is true, though, that the Regulation does not define the meaning of “marriage”. I doubt, however, whether a consensus on this controversial issue among the Member States may be reached soon; the recast of Brussels IIa certainly won’t settle the matter either. In the meantime, it’s better to light a candle (by way of enhanced cooperation in PIL) than curse the darkness.