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Lib Dem MEP secures action for "post-active citizens" in France

April 5, 2011 6:00 AM
By Graham Watson MEP (edited)
Originally published by Surrey County Council Lib Dems

"Post-active" British citizens living in France may soon have access to French healthcare thanks to action by South West England's Lib Dem MEP Graham Watson.

Although all Brits have the right to access the healthcare system of another member state on the same terms as nationals, "post-active citizens"- those who have retired but are not yet in receipt of a state pension- often fall victim to a legal loophole and are left without health cover.

Mr Watson took up with Social Affairs Commissioner Laszlo Andor the case of two former constituents now living in France. Andor has subsequently informed the MEP that the Commission is investigating whether French rules are in line with EU legislation, and has also started work on a solution that will allow UK "post-active citizens" to access health coverage.

Graham Watson commented:

"The freedom to live in another member state is a fundamental right of any EU citizen, and Liberals have helped build powerful legislation on access to healthcare. However, I have heard from former constituents who found themselves without cover after being diagnosed with serious illnesses.

"Although the numbers affected are small, this tragic loophole is totally out of keeping with the basic principles of the EU. It is wrong that individuals who have worked and contributed taxes are unable relocate to another EU country.

"I am pleased that the Commission is taking action, and hope this issue will soon be resolved for the peace of mind of the estimated 200,000 Britons currently living in France."