With a recent proposal for a new directive, the EU Commission wants to introduce interstate recognition of LGBT “marriage” and the rights of children born to such couples, whereby it would overturn state laws and violate the subsidiarity principle of the European Treaties and in effect align the legislation in all European countries. The EU Commission’s proposal aims to ensure the rights of children across the borders of EU member states, but is expected to create controversy because of the inclusion of same-sex “families”. According to Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders, all children should have the same rights, regardless of how they were conceived or born and regardless of the type of family they live in.
In addition to the ready opposition by Poland and Hungary, it now emerges that Austria and Italy would also be opposed. In an open letter, several Austrian Catholic organizations called on ministers to vote against the EU’s controversial proposal to recognize surrogacy, meaning that children born from the procedure would be recognized automatically if the EU directive was approved. “Surrogacy is child trafficking and violates the human dignity of women. No human being should be an object of exchange,” reads an open letter to Austrian ministers Raab (Minister for Women, Family and Youth) and Zadic (Minister for Justice).
The letter comes from several Catholic organizations in Austria, including the Association of Austrian Catholic Families, the Council of Catholic Laity, and the non-denominational association “Aktion Leben” (Life Action). According to these organizations, the European Commission wants to legalize child trafficking with its proposal “for the regulation and recognition of cross-border parenting.” The proposal would obligate all member states to recognize parenting through surrogacy, regardless of their national legislation. Catholic organizations are asking Austrian ministers not to follow this path. “Surrogacy is underpinned by the concept of exploiting global injustices for profit at the expense of women’s physical and psychological integrity.” Currently, surrogacy is banned in Austria. In addition, the organizations that wrote the open letter appeal to Article 35 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. This article explicitly prohibits child trafficking: “States parties shall take all appropriate national, bilateral and multilateral measures to prevent the abduction, sale or trafficking of children for any purpose or in any form.”
In Italy, the ruling center-right coalition wants a law against surrogacy, even when it is practiced abroad. At present, surrogacy is already banned in Italy. However, it is difficult to prosecute those who obtain a child from abroad. Although a law was passed in April defining surrogacy as a universal crime, even if committed abroad, the penalties are not severe enough for Fratelli d’Italia. Therefore, they want to increase the penalty for violators: the three-month imprisonment to be increased to two years and the fine from 600,000 to 1 million euros. Italy, along with Austria, Hungary, Poland and perhaps other countries, could thus block the European proposal and indeed ask the Commission and the Council to follow the directions repeatedly approved by the European Parliament, the last one taking place on 22 May 2022, calling for a complete ban on surrogacy in all European countries and calling for its outright condemnation.