European Union FlagThe European Parliament has adopted (!) a resolution calling for cross-border recognition of adoptions and adherence to anti-discrimination standards that include sex and sexual orientation.

The Parliament explained in a press statement that this would extend current cross-border recognition: “While the Hague Convention requires automatic recognition of adoptions in all its signatory countries, including all EU member states, it applies only to cases in which the parents and the adopted child are from two different countries.” The lack of cross-border recognition for adoptive parents who are both from the same country, the resolution says, “causes significant problems for European families who move to another Member State after adopting a child, as the adoption may not be recognised, meaning that the parents may have trouble legally exercising their parental authority, and may encounter financial difficulties regarding the different fees applicable in this field.”

And while recognition of adoptions must not be “manifestly contrary to the public order of the recognising Member State,” the resolution “[emphasises] that such refusals may never lead de facto to discrimination prohibited by Article 21 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union.”

Article 21 prohibits discrimination on the basis of “sex, race, colour, ethnic or social origin, genetic features, language, religion or belief, political or any other opinion, membership of a national minority, property, birth, disability, age or sexual orientation.” I’d like to assume that “sex” covers gender identity, but I don’t know enough about EU law to know if this is in fact the case.

Members of the European Parliament also suggested creating a European Certificate of Adoption to speed up the automatic recognition process, and “call for common minimum standards to be drawn up for adoption, not in the form of legislation but rather to define ‘best practice’ guidelines.”

Alas, the resolution recognizes only parent-child relationships, but balks at recognizing whole families:

 The proposal only concerns the individual parent-child relationship. It does not oblige the Member States to recognise any particular legal relationship between parents of an adopted child, as the national laws relating to couples differ considerably.

Still, this seems like a positive step forward. It’s not quite law yet, however, although it puts matters on a good path. The statement from the Parliament notes, “The [European] Commission will not be obliged to follow the Parliament’s recommendations, but must state its reasons if it refuses.”