European Parliament votes in favour of controversial Parenthood Certificate


European Union


Photo AFP, Loic Venance

The European Parliament agreed to a report that seeks to recognise parenthood in all EU member states. The proposal is said to be controversial because it would promote surrogacy and gay rights.

"With this regulation, the EU is on thin ice," warns the Dutch Reformed SGP MEP Bert-Jan Ruissen. He argues that the EU is interfering in matters that concern Member States. "Member States are forced to recognise parental relationships that they consider inappropriate based on their considerations, such as surrogacy."

The proposal concerns a report calling on the EU Council, in which all EU member states speak to each other, to recognise parenthood in all European member states. Through such a certificate, it should be easier for people to have their parenthood recognised abroad.

A parent in one country is a parent in all countries, Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, stated in 2020. Critics say that, through this certificate, a more conservative government would have to accept the parenthood of a gay couple because it is also allowed in a more liberal EU member state. This way, a child of a gay couple will not be left out in the cold if the biological parent dies.

Ruissen and several other MEPs tabled a number of amendments to get surrogacy mentioned in the report. They wanted the report to reject the practice of surrogacy. However, these proposals did not gain a majority on Thursday.


The European Parliament appeared divided into three camps during the debate on Wednesday. Right-wing parties expressed fears of a forced acceptance of surrogacy and LGBT rights. In contrast, left-wing parties embraced the proposal because they see it as supporting so-called rainbow families. Several MEPs from the European People's Party, the home of the Christian Democrats, criticised both camps. According to the largest group in Parliament, this proposal does not deal with issues like surrogacy or LGBT rights. It is only a legal text to safeguard the rights of the child.

The chances of EU member states adopting this proposal seem slim. The European Parliament only has a consultative vote on it. If the EU Council decides to do something with this report, unanimity is a requirement around this cross-border issue. Countries like Italy and Hungary have already indicated they will not support this proposal.



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