Chancellor Angela Merkel's right-wing bloc is looking into a plan to fight "child marriage," German media report. CDU and CSU deputies will hold a closed-door meeting Thursday to discuss what they say is a growing issue.
The Christian Democrats and their Bavarian allies in the Christian Social Union are looking into measures against the problem that they have identified as "child marriage," defined as unions in which at least one partner is younger than 18 years old.
"The priority of child welfare and the equal treatment of men and women are pillars of our society and our understanding of our values," legislators from the right-wing bloc wrote in a strategy paper quoted in Thursday's edition of the "Passauer Neue Presse."
That paper estimates more than 1,000 such unions have been registered in Germany - largely connected with the influx of foreign migrants to the country over the last year.
"The annulment of foreign child marriages must be the policy going forward," the lawmakers added. "When the youth office becomes aware of a child marriage in the future, it must file a petition for annulment," they wrote.
In the past, German officials had decided whether to recognize marriages in which at least one partner is younger than 18 on a case-by-case basis. Sixteen- and 17-year-olds had been allowed to tie the knot with a court's approval. The new regulations would raise the marriage age to 18.
mkg/gsw (KNA, dpa)