Brussels vs Madrid: a struggle for social securityby Corrado Alfano - 2011.02.17
The European Commission opened infringement proceedings against the Madrid government for discrimination against pensioners from other EU countries who ask to be given access to free medication. In particular, in the Commission's view, the refusal of the Spanish authorities is contrary to the EU social security legislation which guarantees all European pensioners , who temporarily reside in another member state, free access to healthcare and medication, thanks to their European Health Insurance Card, under the same conditions as national pensioners. On the contrary, the Spanish authorities currently refuse free medication to EU pensioners because the European Health Insurance Card does not indicate that they are pensioners and they require EU pensioners to present a supplementary document certifying in the Spanish language that they are retired. This procedure nullifies the usefulness of the European Health Insurance Card, which was created in order to simplify and reduce bureaucracy for all European citizens. “Having common labour market it was necessary also to have at least a minimum standard for health care for people moving from country to country”, said Slovak MEP Edit Bauer. “Now, I have a feeling, we are quite far from the providing minimum care on the basis of EHIC. The common European space, the common labour market create a need for closer cooperation of social security and health care system of different MS. In this sense I consider the Commission decision as fully justified as it in favour of European citizens”.
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