Thursday, May 12, 2005

Gib-UK Joint response to EU Commission

Pensions and Community Care

Gibraltar and the United Kingdom have agreed a joint response to the European Commission on the challenge regarding Spanish pensions and affecting Community care.

Chief Minister Peter Caruana, accompanied by Chief Secretary Ernest Montado, and Michael Llamas, Director of the Gibraltar Government Office in Brussels, met on Tuesday at the Foreign Office with officials and legal advisers from the Foreign Office, the Cabinet Office and the Department of Works and Pensions.

The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the content of the UK Government’s response to the letter received from the European Commission inviting the UK’s comments in relation to Spanish pensions and Community Care.

Issues raised by the challenge are understood to include the payment of the Housing Cost Allowance.

A No 6 statement said that the meeting was very constructive and successful.

“Both Governments agree substantially on the nature and basis of the response to the Commission’s letter, and on the fact that, if in the future the Commission should decide to challenge the legality of Community Care payments, the UK would defend such challenge.”

The Chief Minister said:

“There is a very wide measure of agreement between us on the nature of the response that should issue to the Commission’s letter, and the defence by the UK of any subsequent legal challenge by the Commission that may (or may not) emerge later.

The Government is and will remain totally convinced of the legality of Community Care payments and will continue to fully support the decision of the Trustees of Community Care to continue such payments regardless of any political or legal challenge that may emerge,”
he said.

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