Union Citizens Directive, Family Reunifications Directive
The tension between the right to family reunification as laid down in European Directives and Member States’ concern to protect their sovereignty in regulating migration has resulted in growing attention to and concern about fraudulent family relationships (especially marriages of convenience). This contribution addresses the question of what forms of control are permissible from a European law perspective and whether national practices are in conformity with European law and fundamental rights. Looking at these national practices several problems are identified: definitions of ‘marriages of convenience’ extending beyond what European law allows; systematic checks of certain nationalities/ethnic groups, mixed couples and/or gender may amount to discrimination and the burden of proof seems to be shifting to couples. Comparing control practices for marriages of convenience with those of homosexual asylum seekers, it is argued that human dignity is at stake.