Report on the implementation of Directive 2003/86/EC on the right to family reunification

Author (Corporate)
Series Details COM (2019) 162
Publication Date 29/03/2019
Content Type ,


Report presented on 29 March 2019 by the European Commission on the implementation of Directive 2003/86/EC setting out common rules on the exercise of the right to family reunification by third-country nationals residing lawfully in Member States.

Further information:

Directive 2003/86/EC applies to all Member States except Denmark, Ireland, and the United Kingdom. In accordance with Article 3(3) of the Directive, it does not regulate the situation of third-country nationals who are family members of an EU citizen.

This report gives an overview of the current situation on the implementation of the Directive by Member States, focusing on the key issues that have emerged from the Commission's own compliance analysis, complaints received and relevant judgements of the CJEU.


For the past 30 years, family reunification has been one of the main reasons of immigration to the EU. In 2017 472,994 people were admitted to the EU-25 on grounds of family reunification, amounting to 28% of all first permits issued to third-country nationals.

The Commission has been monitoring the policy and legislative choices that need to remain within the margin of discretion offered by Directive 2003/86/EC. In 2014, the Commission published a Communication offering guidance to Member States on how to apply the Directive. This guidance document has provided for a consistent interpretation of the main provisions of the Directive that led to meaningful changes in the laws and practices of some Member States.

The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has also played a crucial role in the implementation of the Directive, providing an extensive case law on the interpretation of the most sensitive provisions of the Directive, by mainly addressing preliminary questions sent by the national courts of the Member States.

Source Link
Subject Categories
Subject Tags
International Organisations