French News Archive

Healthcare in France

European Commission Closes File on Health Cover

Friday 03 April 2015

Early retirees are now being admitted to the French health system, so the European Commission have withdrawn infringement proceedings against France.

As we reported in our Newsletter several months ago, the e-mails we have been getting from you indicate that most applications for access to the French health system by early retirees have been successful.

Few of you have been able to say that the process was quick or painless, but despite the time it may have taken, and the often initially obtuse response of local health authorites, the applications have been approved.

Some local offices do not appear to be forwarding the applications to the central processing centre in Nimes, but we are not aware that any processed by either the centre or locally have been refused.

That position now seems to be confirmed by the European Commission, who, in a statement to us say they have now withdrawn non-compliance proceedings:

"We can confirm that the Commission has closed the infringement that had been registered against France concerning access to the Couverture Maladie Universelle ("CMU") for non-active EU citizens residing in France.

The Commission's services are satisfied that the French authorities have changed their practice and now correctly apply the habitual residence test as set out in Regulation (EC) No 883/2004, when assessing applications by non-active EU citizens to join the CMU.

All requests by non-active citizens to join the CMU are now sent to a central administrative authority in Nîmes, France, in order to ensure that this policy is consistently applied.

The French legislation in fact stipulates that non-French citizens should demonstrate "regular" and effective residence in France . The Commission's services are satisfied that this requirement is now being interpreted in accordance with EU law.

Arguably, therefore, the European Commission is right to withdraw the infringement proceedings they commenced against France in 2012.

Except that, to our knowledge, whilst there may have been a change in administrative practice, there has been no change in the law.

Indeed, in response to a specific question from us on this point, the European Commission did not comment and it is noticeable their statement only refers to administrative practice.

Do continue to write to me on this matter. You can contact me at

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