Spain comes out in defence of land grab laws

LAST UPDATED: 30 Mar, 2009 @ 10:28
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Spain comes out in defence of land grab laws

MEPs slam ‘Robert Mugabe school of land re-distribution’ in Valencia


SPANISH MEPs have hit back at threats to withdraw EU funding if the nation continues to abuse property rights.

As reported in issue 60, a draft report by Danish Green politician Margrete Auken – who had been commissioned by the European Parliament to investigate property and environmental abuse in Spain – suggested that Brussels could turn off the financial tap if planning abuses continue.

In particular, the report singled out Valencia’s ‘land grab laws,’ which enable housing developers to build housing schemes on people’s private land and force owners to co-fund the construction.

But in a debate on the draft, which involved land grab victims, MEPS and representatives from the regional government of Valencia, politicians from Spain’s right wing Partido Popular (PP) defended the expropriation laws, claiming they respect EU legislation.

Speaking at the meeting of the European Union’s petitions committee in Brussels, Auken said that “thousands” of people have been affected by land grab laws. “One right is the right to live peacefully in one’s own home,” she added.

Spain hit back, with PP member Maria Angeles Ureña stating that the expropriation laws “contain sustainable development guarantees.”

Throughout the debate, land grab was criticised by the majority of the attendees. British MEP Roger Helmer said he was “outraged” at Spain’s response to the draft.

“There is no democratic legitimacy in property confiscation. It is just plain theft. I am shocked at the outrageous contribution from the representative of the Valencia regional government.

“This is the Robert Mugabe school of land re-distribution,” he said in reference to the African leader, who has taken land from farmers who do not support him.

One victim of land grab – a Spanish national – said: “Developers are undermining our countryside and our economic potential for tourism. Property speculation is a major social ill and a source of destruction for our cultural heritage.”

Backed by socialist PSOE politicians, the PP also demanded that Auken removes suggestions that funding to Spain will be stopped if her report is not acted upon.

The two groups also want an end to the planned investigations into building projects that break EU water directives.

Last year, Spain’s Green MEP, David Hammerstein, asked Brussels to probe at least 250 housing projects that do not have a guaranteed water supply.

The draft will be voted on in European Parliament in March.

8 COMMENTS

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  1. Fred,
    your an idealist – the only ones who win in the courts are the scumbag lawyers, surely you must know this – you will be broke and or dead long before any Court makes a decision – which will not be in your favour.

    Only when northern European governments are prepared to stop all flights into Spain from their respective countries and ban the import of any Spanish goods will it stop and stop damned quick but I think you will wait till hell freezes over before this happens.

    The Spanish are quite relaxed about all this because they know full well that nothing will be done.

    The EEC is purely and simply a way for the multi-nationals and the super rich to make more money – passive serf like people never make anything happen and apart from the French that’s what most ordinary European people are like.

  2. Hi Fred,
    I’m sure that you like me wish it were different. Before the Spanish Civil War, the ordinary Spaniard, women as well as men were the most politically educated people in Europe.

    Most were illiterate but their in depth knowledge and intellectual awareness was second to none. By contrast I find that most of those who think of themslves as ‘intellectuals’ are actually braindead useless parasites.

    If the Republic had won, which would have happened if it had had as much support from so called democracies as the fascists did from Italy and Germany what would Europe look like today and more relevantly what would Spain be today.

    Spain has it’s own Tony the Liar in Zapatero. It would be easy to see him as a fool, he’s not, just another mendacious lawyer.

    All the reforms he could have initiated – he chose not to.It was hard to believe the amount of control the fascists still have in Spain. What could they have done to stop a real ‘socially minded’ Zapatero, where would the support have come from – nowhere.

    The problem is – the EEC. It would have been very easy for Brussels to say – if you want to join the community here is a list of everything you must do first – they did’nt and the rest we know.

    Because I know how close to total collapse the West is, it will be a close run thing if the EEC survives. National protectionism is now running rampant throughout the joke community. It will only take the Germans to say enough and that’s it.

    The only thing that stops the Spanish authorities from using brutal tactics against foreigners is the EEC. Do you remember the police in Seville beating a Tottenham supporter who was in a wheelchair – what happened to the thugs – that’s right nothing. See that as a benchmark.

    It gives me no pleasure to say you are wrong, Brussels will do nothing – lots of hot air but in reality nothing – I’d like to be proved wrong.

  3. Yes, cultural change is very very slow. I am experiencing similar problems in Asturias where manipulation of planning laws sets traps, and then the municipal politicians use the laws to extort money from the land owners in exchange for legalization.

    I met today with a senior executive of Abusos-No.org out of Benissa. They are the ones responsible for the Auken and other reports of thuggery and illegal action.

    I also spent 2 hours with my attorney. Her response is that the EU action will bring an end to the abuse, but not soon enough to help those of us already caught in the traps. Her strategy is to go through the necessary legal stepsto block illegal destruction, and to organize in AUN. No one in Spain has standing before the courts without organizational affiliation. That is the ‘corporatist’ legacy of Franco.
    And then make A LOT OF MOISE and BAD PUBLICITY, because that is the only thing that the local politicans fear, that is, losing office and access to the hog’s trough.

  4. nothing will change……..the spanish mentality is ‘…what do i care what you think or say?….. i do as i please….and if you don’t like it, try and stop me…’

    if we keep coming to spend our money here……..then the spanish are right…….

    oh…..no good to keep blaming Franco…. dead you know.

  5. There really is only one way to stop this and that is for the ‘tourists’ and ‘prospective property purchasers’ to vote with thier feet and buy else where (france ? Italy etc)./
    it will take a while for the message to get through, but it will.

  6. Abusos Urbanisticos No (http://www.abusos-no.org) and other affiliated networks are very, very slowly making headway. Their efforts have been instrumental in bringing petitions to the European Commission and courts, as well as, to the attention of would-be expats and home buyers. The only thing that will work will be continual adverse publicity, organised political action and education of the public. Collusion and corporate prerogatives of this sort are a way of life, a bad habit, going on for centuries. It will take at least another generation to get rid of it. But we will need to ORGANISE! So, in your neighborhood, set up a registed anti-corruption group, and the local politicians will then ‘see’ you’.

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