Thursday, June 28, 2012


*** ‘tergiversation!’***  = turning one’s back on previously held convictions.
Wednesday 27th June 2012,
British Democracy has again been sold down the river, carried away with the flotsam of  party politics scattered by the Liberal Democrats.
During this afternoon the almost empty chamber of the Commons listened to passionate exhortations from the MPs - Geoffrey Clifton Brown, Gary Streeter, Nick de Bois and Heather Wheeler, explaining why the expatriate citizen should have the right to vote for Life. Mr Clifton Brown had tabled a clause last week which would give all Britons Abroad a vote (representation) for LIFE.
An extract from a letter by a campaign supporter  (Margaret Hales) was read by Nick de Bois. 
Yet David Heath, Deputy Leader and Liberal Democrat MP for Somerton and Frome persuaded  Mr Clifton Brown to withdraw his clause.  This was his reasoning:-
what are registration officers to do to identify all those abroad who might be qualified to vote? Putting an onus on them similar to the responsibility we are placing on them in this Bill to seek out everyone who could possibly be qualified to vote would provide an insuperable problem for them if applied to overseas electors. I think that the hon. Member for The Cotswolds would probably acknowledge that that is the case.  Then very shortly after he said….
I ask the hon. Gentleman to withdraw his new clause. He has made some very important points and I undertake that the Government will give them serious consideration. We will see whether there are proposals that we might wish to bring forward in due course to address some of his points.
So many ifs and buts… So for the foreseeable future, the British Citizen Abroad will still not be represented after 15 years.  I myself will never again have a representative MP, for next year I am disenfranchised.  
Was it the Liberal Democrats who not openly, but surreptitiously in the tearooms of Westminster, pulled the rug from under the foundation for this campaign that we and so many other expatriates have tried so hard to build.  The Citizens abroad have been thrown aside like some unwanted rubbish to float away. 
Here are the views of Nick Clegg – as expressed by his assistant Rory Belcher.
“Nick appreciates that there are some British expatriates who have lived abroad for over 15 years and who want to vote in British elections. However, as you may know, Nick supports the existing legislation on this issue, including the removal of the right to vote after 15 years of living abroad. If a Briton has settled in another country, it is intuitive that they would know about and be directly affected by the issues of that country. If they want to become politically active, then they should register to vote in  the country they have settled in.”

Did Mr. Clegg put pressure on Mr Heath?   It is a mystery why Mr. Clifton-Brown changed his mind.  Internal politics?  “We mustn’t  expose cracks in the coalition must we?”
    Is Nick Clegg a Leader? Is Nick Clegg a Statesman?  I do not think so. 
Was there not here a glorious opportunity to stand up for British Citizens – The Citizens who are at the cutting edge of British Influence in the World. – The Citizens who spread the spirit of Britain. An opportunity for Britain to stand tall amongst the Nations.
   Is any Britain Abroad proud of this performance in Parliament?  I do not think so.
Hope always remains.   This Bill has to go before the Lords – once again we must express our concerns and get the peers on our side.
There is no good reason for the Clause to have been withdrawn.  There is absolutely no reason why the current process of registration which I have performed every year should not in some form continue.  There are no increased administrative difficulties. At the next election in 2015 let us all remember the role of the Liberal Democrats in this matter.  Tell your children, your parents, your aunts and cousins.  Tell your friends.  Tell all in Britain what the Liberal Democrats have done this day. 
‘The Liberal Democrats are opposed to Life-time Democracy for British Citizens.’
Withdrawal statement by Mr Geoffrey Clifton-Brown
May I suggest to the Deputy Leader of the House and to the Committee a practical way of dealing with the issue? The hon. Gentleman should table an amendment on Report or an amendment should be tabled in another place to take powers to extend but not reduce the 15-year period at a time when the Government are satisfied that the registration process is robust and maintains the integrity of the electoral register. He would be able to do that in tandem with the Parliamentary Secretary, Cabinet Office, his hon. Friend the Member for Forest of Dean (Mr Harper), who told the House last week that he would look at the measures for the registration process that I suggested to him—namely, using the passport as an identity document, abolishing the annual requirement to register, perhaps introducing a permanent opt-in for people who had registered validly once, and the possibility of using British embassies so that people could register and, even better, vote there. The Cabinet Office Minister undertook to look carefully at those measures, which could be introduced under the Bill and under the existing legislation and secondary legislation. I suggest that the Deputy Leader of the House table an amendment to take a power to extend the 15 years when the Government are satisfied that those measures are in place. On that basis, I beg to ask leave to withdraw my new clause.
Note – There is no mention of Life-time Democratic Representation here!  
Removal of the `15 year limit’ is not mentioned. Only extension!
Mr.Clifton Brown is intelligent and passionate.  Why did he change his mind?
What conspiracies are constructed over the coffee cups in Westminster?
We must fight again in the House of Lords. 
Author Brian Cave

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Health Costs - Europe June 2012

Posted by Brian Cave (
I have had correspondence  with  the EU officials on this subject and the response is not helpful.
My letter of February 22nd 2012 to Commissioner Andor can be read here
The reply from Jackie Morin [Head of Unit on Social Security Co-ordination]
of June 22nd can be read here.

Below I  transcribe relevant extracts from the EU Regulations relating to Health provision and costing for British Pensioners in France under EU law.
These regulations consist of  two kinds - the Basic and the Implementing.   The Implementing Regulations are dated 2009.  The Basic - 2004.  Both have the full power of Law.
The Implementing Regulations explain in detail how the Basic are to be used. The wording of the implementing regulation is very precise
I have coloured in portions – to make them easier to understand.
Greyed areas-  are of no interest, but given because they are referenced elsewhere.
Purple entries are added by myself by way of explanation.
N.B. The Basic regulations have been in operation (in a similar form but began under other Regulation headings -1408/1971 and 574/1972)  for many years.  The more recent Implementing regulation came into force on May 1st 2010.  From 1973 to the present day, payment was made via a formula laid down in Article 95 of the the Reg 574/1972 and not on 'actual amounts'. The current Implementing Regulations are more precise and definitive than the previous.
The UK joined the EU in 1973.
It seems to me obvious that  the currant regulations are not being implemented to the letter.
I leave it to the reader to comment – I should reply to Jackie Morin but  await  any views before so doing.   Views of people with a legal background would be helpful.   Brian Cave.

of 29 April 2004
on the coordination of social security systems
Article 24
No right to benefits in kind under the legislation of the Member State of residence
British Pensioners who have NEVER  paid  into the French Social Care system have no right to benefits under French Legislation.
1. A person who receives a pension or pensions under the legislation of one or more Member States and who is not entitled to benefits in kind under the legislation of the Member State of residence shall nevertheless receive such benefits for himself and the members of his family, insofar as he would be entitled thereto under the legislation of the Member State or of at least one of the Member States competent in respect of his pensions, if he resided in that Member State  (i.e the UK). The benefits in kind shall be provided at the expense of the institution referred to in paragraph 2 by the institution of the place of residence, as though the person concerned were entitled to a pension and benefits in kind under the legislation of that Member State.
2. In the cases covered by paragraph 1, the cost of benefits in kind shall be borne by the institution as determined in accordance with the following rules:
(a) where the pensioner is entitled to benefits in kind under the legislation of a single Member State, the cost shall be borne by the competent institution of that Member State (i.e. the Dept. of  Health/NHS)
(b) where the pensioner is entitled to benefits in kind under the legislation of two or more Member States, the cost thereof shall be borne by the competent institution of the Member State to whose legislation the person has been subject for the longest period of time; should the application of this rule result in several institutions being responsible for the cost of benefits, the cost shall be borne by the institution applying the legislation to which the pensioner was last subject.
Article 35
Reimbursements between institutions
1. The benefits in kind provided by the institution of a Member State on behalf of the institution of another Member State under this Chapter shall give rise to full reimbursement.
 2. The reimbursements referred to in paragraph 1 shall be determined and effected in accordance with the arrangements set out in the Implementing Regulation, either on production of proof of actual expenditure, or on the basis of fixed amounts for Member States the legal or administrative structures of which are such that the use of reimbursement on the basis of actual expenditure is not appropriate.
3. Two or more Member States, and their competent authorities, may provide for other methods of reimbursement or waive all reimbursement between the institutions coming under their jurisdiction.

Benefits in respect of accidents at work and occupational diseases
Article 41
Reimbursements between institutions
1. Article 35 shall also apply to benefits falling within this Chapter, and reimbursement shall be made on the basis of actual costs.

of 16 September 2009
laying down the procedure for implementing Regulation (EC) No 883/2004
on the coordination of social security systems
Chapter I
Reimbursement of the cost of benefits in application of Article 35 and Article 41 of the basic Regulation
Article 62
1. For the purposes of applying Article 35 and Article 41 of the basic Regulation, the actual amount of the expenses for benefits in kind, as shown in the accounts of the institution that provided them, shall be reimbursed to that institution by the competent institution (i.e the DoH/NHS), except where Article 63 of the implementing Regulation is applicable.

Article 63
Identification of the Member States concerned
1. The Member States referred to in Article 35(2) of the basic Regulation, whose legal or  administrative structures are such that the use of reimbursement on the basis of actual  expenditure is not appropriate, are listed in Annex 3 to the implementing  Regulation.

Annex 3
France is not listed in Annex 3  and therefore will ask for repayment (for any British pensioners in France)  from the UK on the basis of ‘actual costs’.
The UK is listed and will ask France for repayment (for any French pensioners in the UK) on the basis of a fixed amount.
This annex 3 lists the following nations which will seek payment of health costs for foreign  EU pensioners on their territory by means of fixed sums.  Thus health payment provided in Britain for a French pensioner will be made via a 'fixed sum'.  All other countries (including France) will demand the 'actual amount' as defined above -so it seems!


I was informed some time ago by the Department of Health that France will henceforth seek repayment of actual costs.