Winter Fuel Payment
Tell the Truth 1
Did the DWP know what Truth is?
The DWP - Ministers and Civil Servants -
appeared unable to tell the truth
On 31st October 2015, Iain Duncan Smith signed a letter to a fellow MP, in which he stated: “The Overseas French Departments (DOMs) are considered part of metropolitan France and are subject to the same Coordination of Social Security Systems rules. Therefore, to exclude the DOMs from the calculation would require a change in the definition of the EU areas. For this reason, it would be inconsistent to exclude the DOMs when measuring the average temperature. For clarity, the DOMs included in the average winter temperature calculations were: Guadeloupe; Martinique; La Réunion; and French Guyana. Mayotte was not included because it did not become an outermost region of the EU until 1 January 2014.”
In an earlier letter to a fellow MP, dated 12th February 2015, and also signed by Iain Duncan Smith, he wrote: “The situation is different for the départements d'outre mer (DOMs) which are integral parts of the French State just as is the case for any of France's other departments.”
Anyone, and we mean anyone, keying in 'Metropolitan France' into 'Google' will find the following definition on ‘Wikipedia, the free encyclopaedia’:
(French: France métropolitaine or la Métropole)
is the part of France that is in Europe.
It can also be described as
mainland France plus the island of Corsica.
By contrast, Overseas France (France d'outre-mer)
is the collective name for all of the
French overseas departments, territories
and collectivities and New Caledonia.
Metropolitan France & Overseas France
together form the French Republic.”
Successive French Governments have been very single-minded about their ambitions for their territories of Overseas France. The DOMs, or Départements d’Outre-mer’, as they were called, are now Outermost Regions of the European Union (ORs), fully, and legally, integrated into the EU and the European Economic Area (EEA). So there is no way in which the French Government would have ‘considered’ their former DOMs to be ‘part of metropolitan France’!
In fact, the French Government has worked
for many years to enhance the status
of their former colonies.
First, in France, with reforms made to the French Constitution of the Fifth Republic, enacted in 2008, devolving powers from Paris to the DOMs (now ORs). And, second, with the development of the Outermost Regions, completed with the Treaty of Lisbon (TFEU), of 1st December 2009. That Treaty declaring the full integration of the ORs into the EU and the EEA, and so, in the case of France, making their six ORs different from all the other 96 Départements of France Métropolitaine.
That full integration into the EU of the ORs ensured they are fully incorporated into the EU social security co-ordination regulations (883/2004), used in the co-ordination and payment of benefits, each in their own right. This placed the ORs on exactly the same footing as every one of the 28 Member States of the EU, establishing each of them at a different level, and with a different status from the other 96 Départements of France. This makes them different, and not the same; revealing yet again that Iain Duncan Smith and the DWP, either did not understand the EU policies, or, more likely, stubbornly refused to accept these important and legally binding changes!
In the UK, the Foreign & Commonwealth Office published an Explanatory Memorandum for Parliament:
This publication acknowledged the special and separate status of Mayotte (an Outermost Region from 01/01/2014) along with the existing Outermost Regions. The memorandum reported that it had been examined by the House of Commons Scrutiny Committee. The memorandum reminds us that Mayotte joined the other other four French Overseas Territories.
That is the fact that Guadeloupe, Martinique, French Guiana, and La Réunion are fully integrated Outermost Regions of the European Union, and are all subject to the full acquis communautaire of EU Law. And, because the full acquis communautaire of EU Law applies to the Outermost Regions, it automatically follows that EU Regulation 883/2004 applies to the ORs, each in their own right, placing each OR under the same obligations as each of the 28 Nation States.
With the admission in letters that Mayotte is an Outermost Region, the reaction from Iain Duncan Smith implied that Mayotte was in some way different from four of the other five - Guadeloupe, Martinique, French Guiana, and La Réunion, which he had used to inflate the temperature for France Mayotte is not different - it is the same - it is an Outermost Region of the EU!
As a MATTER OF FACT, the other five French Outermost Regions included under Article 349 of the Treaty of Lisbon (TFEU), were ratified by a vote of the House of Commons on 11th March 2008, and the UK Act which concluded that ratification received Royal Assent on 19th June 2008. That means the UK Parliament has voted into existence all Outermost Regions (ORs) and thereby legally recognised their enhanced special status and their full integration within the EU and the EEA.
We do wonder, if the fact that in 2008 Iain Duncan Smith voted against the ratification of the Treaty of Lisbon, has anything to do with his refusal, to recognise how the former French DOMs have changed in European Union Law! Or was it simply one more symptom of his fiercely strong Eurosceptic views?
Although the Outermost Regions (ORs) of the EU are situated geographically thousands of kilometres away from Brussels and the European continent, administratively, they are as much part of the EU scene as is Berlin or Paris.
There is proof of the ‘double standards’ adopted by the DWP: Gibraltar was treated by the DWP as if it were a separate Nation State, which of course it is not. Gibraltar was included in the list of proscribed ‘countries’ in the Statutory Instrument, for the removal of the WFP, because of its special relationship within the EU as a dependent territory of the UK.
An additional fact is that Gibraltar forms part of the Euro Constituency of SW England and Gibraltar, and so therefore we would maintain that the average winter temperature of Gibraltar should have been added to that of SW England, in exactly the same way as IDS and the DWP added those French tropical islands to France!
Gibraltar is the proof, if ever proof was needed, that the pursuit by IDS and the DWP of the so-called ‘Temperature Test Policy’ had nothing to do with achieving the ‘proportionality and legitimacy’ required by EU Regulations. Treating Gibraltar as if it were a separate state is totally disproportionate to the way the DWP has tried to deal with the nine Outermost Regions of the EU.
Seven of those listed above, except Gibraltar, have been added by the DWP to their respective home countries - why did the DWP not add the Gibraltar temperature to the winter temperature of S W England? A ‘double standard’!
(NOTE: In the chart above showing Gibraltar and the Outermost Region, the 4 French ORs included in the 'interpreted' average winter temperature for France are highlighted in Yellow - those ORs highlighted in RED were included with Spain and Portugal respectively - but Saint-Martin and Mayotte were not included - Gibraltar, however, was treated as if it were a separate country)
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