Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Caruana in Community Care talks at F&CO

Chief Minister Peter Caruana travelled to Britain last night for surprise talks with the Foreign Office on the future of Community Care.

This comes in the aftermath of acrimonious exchanges between Mr Caruana and the Mayor of La Linea Juan Carlos Juarez who last week stated that Britain had to pay updated pensions to Spanish and Gibraltar pensioners, or extend the Housing Cost Allowance to Spaniards.

The statement prompted a response from Mr Caruana condemning both Sr Juarez and the GSLP (Gibraltar Socialist Labour Party) Opposition and accusing them respectively of creating “false expectation” and “unnecessary anxiety” by their “manipulative” handling of the pensions issue.

A Gibraltar Government spokesman said:

“The Chief Minister will hold discussions at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office about the British Governments’ formal response to the EU Commission’s recent letter inviting the UK to comment on its observations on the nature of Community Care payments.

As the Government said last week, the EC Commission has not, at this stage, made any ultimatum or initiated any legal proceedings relating to Spanish pensions or Community Care. If such proceedings materialise in the future they will be robustly resisted by the appropriate parties.

The Chief Minister is accompanied by Chief Secretary Ernest Montado and returns later today.”

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