what was at stake
green position
what we achieved
what we did not achieve

International succession and creation of a European Certificate of Succession

Today, Europeans tend to move around their continent far more than they did in the past. Furthermore, after retiring they also settle more frequently in Member States other than their country of birth. This can lead to complex legal conflicts due to disparities between different Member States' inheritance laws. The EU has been working on a solution to this problem since 2005, but only in the past few years has the issue of succession become a priority for the Council. The basic principle behind the present proposal for a Regulation is to let the heir choose which law shall apply: the law of their (main) country of residence or the law applying in their country of nationality.


What was the Greens' position?
The Greens believe that the European Regulation on matters of succession will not only facilitate the lives of many European citizens, but also constitute an important step towards the creation of European private law. Succession law is a key tool for creating social equality. We therefore believe it should include rules governing inheritance tax. Three Member States have opted out of the Regulation: Ireland and the UK, which were dissatisfied with the rules governing whether heirs of forced inheritance can claw back gifts made by beqeathers prior to their death, and Denmark.


Did other MEPs accept the Greens' position?
The Greens only added very minor changes to the text because the EPP rapporteur opted to reach a quick compromise with the largest Member States in negotiations with the Council soon after the committee had reached a consensus. The result of those negotiations was then confirmed in plenary, in a so-called first reading agreement. This procedure makes it difficult to highlight political differences because the negotiations take place behind closed doors until a final agreement is reached.


Which points did the Greens lose?
The Greens were unable to raise majority support for several clarifications, including the matter of inheritance tax. We were also unhappy with the procedure, for negotiations with the Council took place before the first reading in plenary. This procedure tends to make any negotiations rather opaque, and in this particular instance it facilitated the Irish and UK opt-outs.

Procedure:Ordinary legislative procedure


Lead MEP:Kurt Lechner (EPP)

Green MEP responsible:Eva Lichtenberger


Staff contact:Francesca Beltrame (Email)

Outcome of the vote
Below you find the results of the final vote in plenary. How did the political groups vote? What about national delegations? And what was the position of your MEP?