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C 137 E/226 Official Journal of the European Union EN 12.6.

2003

Before a precise answer can be given to the questions concerned, it is necessary to focus on the type of
case involved. It should be remembered that the Gibraltar Social Insurance Fund (GSIF), the body created
by the Government of Gibraltar with responsibility for paying old-age pensions to workers in the British
colony, went bankrupt in 1993, and the British Government has since then been ensuring the payment of
pensions, albeit with the sums involved being frozen. This freeze applies to all retired workers regardless of
nationality, and is in accordance with Community law.

It should be remembered that in Regulations (EEC) 1408/71 (1) and 574/72 (2), Community law merely
provides for coordination of the Member States’ different social security schemes in order to offer social
protection to persons moving within the EU. Accordingly, the Member States alone are responsible for
determining the conditions under which persons qualify and are eligible for pensions granted in
accordance with Community law and above all in keeping with the principle of non-discrimination.

The questions raised by the Honourable Members are also concerned with the existence of two types of
benefits granted by the Government of Gibraltar: the Elderly Persons Allowance (EPA) and the Household
Cost Allowance (HCA). The questions are more specifically concerned with the legal nature of these two
benefits. In the present instance, what has to be determined is whether the existence and payment of two
non-contributory benefits is a roundabout way of index-linking retirement pensions which contravenes
Community law by making residence a condition of eligibility.

Based on the information obtained from the British authorities, it is apparent that both benefits fall within
the scope of social welfare provision and are thus outside the scope of social insurance and thus also
Community provisions.

The EPA is run by a private charitable organisation, Community Care Limited, which distributes funds
from the Government of Gibraltar subject to the following conditions: those who benefit are persons aged
65 or over who are resident in Gibraltar, have lived there for at least ten of the last 20 years, and do not
receive a contributory retirement pension or any other form of social assistance in excess of the EPA.
According to the British authorities, this benefit is becoming less and less common and currently is only
paid to around a hundred beneficiaries.

As regards the HCA, this is designed to help certain old people meet their household expenses, and
eligibility is also residence-based and income-dependent. This benefit is also administered by Community
Care Limited.

In view of the above, it can be seen that the legal nature and conditions of eligibility for the two types of
benefit mean that they constitute social welfare provision. There is no evidence of any discrimination
based on nationality in this connection. Furthermore, social assistance falls outside the scope of
Community provisions, as is clearly indicated in Article I.4 of Regulation (EEC) 1408/71.

As far as contributory retirement pensions are concerned, the Commission has not found any evidence of
discrimination on the grounds of a worker’s nationality. Indeed, the freeze on benefits applies to both
British and Spanish nationals who previously worked in Gibraltar.

(1) Council Regulation (EC) No 1408/71 of 14 June 1971 on the application of social security schemes to employed
persons, to self-employed persons and to members of their families moving within the Community (OJ L 149,
5.7.1971).
(2) Council Regulation (EEC) No 574/72 of 21 March 1972 laying down the procedure for implementing Regulation
(EEC) No 1408/71 on the application of social security schemes to employed persons, to self-employed persons and
to members of their families moving within the Community (OJ L 74, 27.3.1972).

(2003/C 137 E/256) WRITTEN QUESTION E-3562/02


by Chris Davies (ELDR) to the Commission
(12 December 2002)

Subject: Food Supplements Directive

In view of concerns by some that the stimulus behind recent directives has come from large
pharmaceutical companies intent on increasing their market share, will the Commission explain the extent
of involvement of drugs companies in the drafting of the directive on Food Supplements (2002/46/EC (1))
and name the companies involved?

(1) OJ L 183, 12.7.2002, p. 51.


12.6.2003 EN Official Journal of the European Union C 137 E/227

Answer given by Mr Byrne on behalf of the Commission

(23 January 2003)

No pharmaceutical or other company was involved in the drafting of the Directive 2002/46/EC of the
Parliament and of the Council of 10 June 2002 on the approximation of the laws of the Members States
relating to food supplements (1).

(1) OJ L 183, 12.7.2002.

(2003/C 137 E/257) WRITTEN QUESTION E-3565/02


by Markus Ferber (PPE-DE) to the Commission

(12 December 2002)

Subject: Agreement between the European Union and Israel

1. Was an agreement signed between the EU and Israel in April 2002 which provides for mutual
recognition of preclinical tests?

2. If so, exactly what provisions does it contain?

3. If so, what is the purpose of the agreement?

Answer given by Mr Liikanen on behalf of the Commission

(31 January 2003)

The Agreement between the Union and Israel, to which of the Honourable Member refers, concerns the
mutual recognition of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) principles of
Good Laboratory Practice (GLP) and of the respective GLP compliance monitoring programmes.

The principles of Good Laboratory Practice GLP) define a set of rules and criteria for a quality system
concerned with the organisational process and the conditions under which non-clinical health and
environmental safety studies are planned, performed, monitored, recorded, archived and reported.

The recognition of test data generated in accordance with the principles of GLP by the authorities in
several countries avoids duplicative testing, is beneficial to animal welfare and reduces costs for industry
and governments. Moreover, common principles for GLP facilitate the exchange of information and
prevent the emergence of non-tariff barriers to trade, while contributing to the protection of human health
and the environment.

The Mutual Recognition Agreement (MRA) between the Union and Israel was concluded by Council
Decision 1999/662/EC of 19 July 1999 concerning the conclusion of the Agreement on mutual
recognition of OECD principles of good laboratory practice (GLP) and compliance monitoring programmes
between the Community and the State of Israel (1) and has entered into force on 1 May 2000.

According to this agreement, the Parties shall recognise the equivalence of each other’s compliance
monitoring programmes on GLP based on the OECD principles of GLP and other relevant OECD
documents. The Parties shall therefore accept studies and data generated by GLP compliant test facilities
located on the territory of the other party and intended to be used to allow the placing on the market of
all chemicals defined in the agreement.