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W. v. Commission | EU Civil Service Tribunal

The Tribunal interprets the 2004 amendments to the EU Staff Regulation in favour of a same-sex couple which choose Belgian registered partnership instead of civil marriage.

A (same-sex) couple not married is eligible for the "household allowance" if they do not have access to civil marriage in an EU Member State. Mr. W. is a dual Belgian-Moroccan national. He and his Spanish male partner chose a "declaration of statutory cohabition" under Belgian law, rather than a civil marriage, because sexual activity between men is a criminal offence in Morocco. After the declaration, his civil status remained single. A civil marriage would have required him to report his marriage (a change of civil status) to Moroccan consular officials in Belgium.

The Tribunal concluded that, on the facts of the case, the applicant did not have "concrete and effective" access to civil marriage in Belgium. This meant that he was exempted from the marriage requirement and could rely on the declaration.

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