Monday, October 03, 2005

GGR denounce obstacles for inclusion in “British Gibraltar” waiting lists

Housing rights of UK citizens

GGR is considering launching a legal complaint to the European Commission regarding the situation of British residents on the Rock specifically on the question of housing rights.

The group questions the “bureaucratic obstacles” faced by British UK citizens in Gibraltar who wish to apply for local accommodation.

“This is contrary to the spirit of EC law,” said group spokeswoman Susan Haywood.
The GGR note that EC law allows citizens of one member state residing in another member state to be able to participate in the ‘local’ housing waiting lists.

Speaking to the Chronicle Ms Haywood said that while the Gibraltar Government may feel that given the Rock’s limited resources more exclusions should be sought over and above the Common Agricultural Policy and VAT, this should be done openly “using all political and legal means available to it.” She said:

“It is paradoxical that in a British Gibraltar that has recently celebrated its 301 anniversary, and faced with a wholly inadequate response from the Gibraltar Government, we should be considering this course of action.”

Ms Haywood continued:

“What cannot happen is that on the one hand Gibraltar claims its right to participate in the EC’s democratic process by submitting a case to the European Court of Human Rights, but then looks the other way when it comes to providing the rights to freedom of movement which the EC treaty and other legislation say are musts.

All citizens of the European Union have the fundamental right to freedom of movement within the Union. That includes being able to go to another EC member state to work and reside. European law stipulates that there must be no nationality discrimination in any member state toward any other member state citizen.

Furthermore the conditions for application to new government housing such as the Waterport Terraces project clearly stipulate prior inclusion on the Housing lists –thereby making the insult double.”

Interestingly in a recent Gibraltar Government official notice to recruit a marketing co-ordinator for the Madrid office, the text states that the vacancy is open to persons “who by virtue of their citizenship are entitled to take up employment.” It is unclear whether the absence of the term ‘British’ in the advert should be taken to mean that the post is open to persons from any of the EU member states.

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