European Migration and Diversity

Immigration, Integration and Asylum Forum


Conditions for family reunification under strain - A comparative study in nine EU member states

17 November 2011
Yves Pascouau (Senior Adviser to EPC on migration and mobility policies)



Taking into account the growing importance of family reunification at national and European level, this study evaluates developments with regard to conditions for family reunification in nine EU member states: Belgium, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden.

It reveals that over the past few years, much policy change has been taking place in member states regarding conditions for family reunification, mostly in a restrictive manner. While disclosing trends, the study assesses the compatibility of national rules with regard to the limits set by Directive 2003/86/EC and the European Court of Justice's jurisprudence.

The study highlights tensions that exist in the field of family reunification between the desire to enhance the integration of third-country nationals by allowing them to bring with them family members on the one hand, and the desire of member states to restrict migration on the other.

It was published at the beginning of a major consultation process triggered by the publication of the European Commission's Green Paper. It thus constitutes an in-depth and timely contribution to the debate. 

The study was commissioned by the King Baudouin Foundation and conducted in collaboration with the Odysseus Academic Network of the Université Libre de Bruxelles.

Conditions for family reunification under strain

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