Unlike many other parts of the world, it is possible to regard most of Europe as an emerging zone in relation to the conditions of entry for migrants who look to exercise family life. The European Union provides a transnational legal framework for the adoption and implementation of legislation concerning policy areas better addressed at Union level. One such area is family reunion and the respect for family life. An important legal basis in this field is the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, particularly Article 8 on the right to respect for private and family life1. The Rights of the Child Convention (CRC)2 and the International Convention on Civil and Political rights (ICCPR)3 also engage international obligations. Thus, the European Union can be seen as an experimental workshop for seeking common solutions in this field, a field fraught with challenges but also with considerable possibilities of confirming the primacy of family life in human society. The Directive on Family Reunification of Third Country Nationals was adopted by the European Council in 2003 and states in its preamble:

“Family reunification is a necessary way of making family life possible. It helps to create socio-cultural stability facilitating the integration of third country nationals in the Member State, which also serves to promote economic and social cohesion, a fundamental community objective stated in the (EU) Treaty.”


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