Saturday, May 07, 2005

Juarez and Caruana clash over the Spanish Pensions issue

Cross-border political row

Chief Minister Peter Caruana is showing signs of “nervousness and anger,” because for the first time ever, the Spanish pensions case will be dealt with at a judicial level by the European Commission, Mayor of La Línea Juan Carlos Juárez has declared.

“Whether Mr Caruana likes it or not, the legal process is now irreversible,” said Sr Juarez.

In a statement to the Chronicle, Sr Juárez stated that although the Spanish pensions issue is being discussed at the tripartite talks forum, there was a parallel procedure in place in the European Commission which “would end up in the European Court of Justice in Luxemburg.”

The La Línea Mayor said it was up to the European Commission to ensure that EU agreements are implemented and was inviting Britain and Gibraltar to put an end to the social assistance payment, that he believes, provokes the discrimination.

Sr Juárez argues that there are only two options to solve the problem, (i.e.) Britain meeting the updated cost of the pensions to both Spanish and Gibraltar pensioners, or alternatively extending the Household Cost Allowance to Spaniards.

Sr Juárez called on the Chief Minister to pressurise Britain into accepting that it is dishing out unfair treatment both to Gibraltarians and to the former Spanish workers, and also called into question what he described as Mr Caruana’s “arrogant attitude toward pensioners on both sides of the frontier.”

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