In the case of Veres v. Spain (57906/18, 8.11.2022), the ECHR found a violation of the applicant’s right to respect for his family life (Article 8 of the Convention) on account of the fact that Spanish courts had failed to recognise and enforce without delay a judgment by a Hungarian court acting under Article 21 et seq. of the Brussels IIa Regulation (No. 2201/2003) and ordering the return to Hungary of the applicant’s daughter.
The ECHR noted in particular that it had taken the Spanish courts more than two years to enforce the decision by the Budapest Metropolitan Court ordering the return of the child. Having regard to what was at stake for the applicant, i.e. his family ties and contact with his daughter, this was not justified in the circumstances of the case. Not only did the excessive length of the proceedings in Spain affect the relationship between the applicant and his daughter by interrupting it for two years, it also affected the decision of the Hungarian courts to eventually grant custody over the child to her mother, since they found that the passage of time had strengthened the bonds between the child and her mother and weakened the child’s connection with the applicant (§ 88).
This judgment is another illustration, along with cases such as Ullens de Schooten and Rezabek v. Belgium, Romeo Castaño v. Belgium and Spasov v. Romania, of how the Convention system can lend support to the obligation on EU Member States to comply with EU law, i.e. through the finding of a violation of those Convention rights which are affected by the failure to fulfil that obligation.