For the #InternationalWomensDay, eleven NGOs sent an open letter to the European Commission against its project to recognise „all forms of family relations”.
PRO VITA Bucharest and Alianța Famililor din România (Alliance of Romania’s Families) have joined other pro-family organizations in signing this letter to the President of the Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, as per her project on Mutual recognition of family relations. We call on her to drop this project, and base mutual recognition on an ad hoc country to country relation, or a minima, exclude the establishment of a legal relation between commissioning parents and child from a surrogacy arrangement.
During her State of the Union address, last October 2020, President von der Leyen announced that she would like the EU to recognize all family-relations, explaining that „If you are a parent in one country, you are a parent in every country”. This recognition would have a devastating outcome, as same sex marriage and reproductive exploitation would be de facto recognised even in an EU member state which does not. This is in contradiction with values of human dignity and a blatant violation of women’s and children’s rights. In addition, the European Parliament recently acknowledged that surrogacy is an exploitation of women.
UPDATE Dec 21st, 2021: The letter of response on behalf of Mrs der Leyen can be read here. As was expected, although the Commission agrees that the family law is the prerogative of Member States, it insists that it is entitled to adopt measures “concerning family law with cross-border implications”. Thus it feels compelled to ensure that once “parenthood” is recognized in one Member States it shall also be recognized in other states. This in essence nullifies the authority of Member States to regulate the issues reserved for their prerogative and opens a huge gap based on which our countries shall be forced against their will and against the will of their citizens to recognize the “rights” of “parents” which were granted to them abroad. This in turn may open our legal systems to a whole host of abuses including, but not limited to forcing the recognition of surrogacy arranged in the legal systems of other countries. It is evident that the assault on our values, family and parenthood, human dignity and freedom is unrelenting and that it is led or at least supported by the President of the European Commission.
To the attention of President Ursula von der Leyen, European Commission
Brussels, March 8th 2021
Subject : International Women’s Day and EU Mutual Recognition of family relations
Honourable Madam President,
On International Women’s Day, we would like to congratulate you on your role model as a woman with the highest responsibilities as well as a mother.
We, a group of NGOs defending women’s rights at the EU level, would like to express our concern following your State of the Union address on October 14, 2020. In fact, the project on „Mutual Recognition of Family Relations”, as you expressed it would allow the actual transcription of a birth certificate for a child born from a surrogacy arrangement into a member state’s civil registry and establish a fallacious parental affiliation between a child and one or more commissioning parents.
Among the deleterious effects of such legislation, we would like to point out that the practice of surrogacy would proliferate and that the mother who carried the baby during nine months and gave birth to him or her would be made invisible and discriminated against. Legislating on the mutual recognition of family relationships would encourage reproductive exploitation as well as the sale of oocytes and sperm within the European Union.
Celebrating International Woman’s day encourages us to recall that women have rights and dignity and that reproductive exploitation (surrogacy and the collection of oocytes) is a new form of slavery whereby the female body and her reproductive organs are exploited. 
More than seventeen EU countries  prohibit surrogacy. The European Union already enacted a wide array of legislation in that realm, such as directives against trafficking in human beings. As recently as January 2021, the European Parliament adopted two resolutions recalling :
„acknowledges that sexual exploitation for surrogacy and reproductive purposes or purposes such as forced marriages, prostitution and pornography is unacceptable and a violation of human dignity and human rights.” (EU Strategy for Gender Equality)
„trafficking for other forms of exploitation accounted for 18% of victims, involving activities in the area of […] traffic of human beings through surrogacy.” (Implementation of the Anti-Trafficking Directive)
Consequently, we call on the European Commission to take active steps to ban surrogacy as a form of trafficking in human beings and exploitation of women at the international level. We call on the European Union to not create any legal obligation for member states to transcribe the birth certificate of a surrogate child born abroad in their own civil registries.
As NGOs protecting women’s rights and denouncing reproductive exploitation as a violation of these rights, we call on the European Union to take the following steps:
- provision that the „Mutual recognition of family relations” exclude children born from surrogacy or, best, to not legislate on the „Mutual recognition of family relations”, leaving it to ad hoc provisions;
- modify the Directive 2011/36/EU on preventing and combating trafficking in human beings to include reproductive exploitation, namely any form of surrogacy;
- oppose the Hague Conference on International Private Law project on “Parentage/Surrogacy” , as the European Union is a member of HCCH;
- partake in the enactment of an International Ban of Surrogacy.
Please accept, Madam President, the expression of our deep and respectful consideration.
. Surrogacy is slavery, as per Article 1 of the Supplementary Convention on the Abolition of Slavery
. Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Norway, Romania, Sweden, Spain…
. This HCCH project aims at providing a framework to recognise parenthood of intended parents at the expense of the biological mother or the sperm/oocyte donor.
Finland – Aito Avioliitto – Arto Jääskeläinen, Chairman
France – La Manif Pour Tous – Ludovine de la Rochère, President
Germany – Aktionsbündnis für Ehe & Familie (DemoFürAlle) – Hedwig von Beverfoerde, spokeswoman
Hungary – Human Dignity Center – Edit Frivaldsky, Director
Romania – PRO VITA Bucharest – Bogdan Stanciu, President
Romania – Alliance of Romania’s Families – Petre Costea, President
Slovakia – Aliancia za rodinu – Anton Chromík, President
International – Femina Europa – Anne Girault, President
International – Europe for Family – Aurianne Lestienne, President
International – Women of the World – Leonor Tamayo, President
International – WomanAttitude – Laetitia Pouliquen, Director