EU report criticises Spanish urban development policies

PSOE and PP both criticize EU report on urban development in Spain

Spanish EU MPs from both the PSOE and PP parties have announced their intentions to present a number of allegations against a recent EU report on urban development in Spain in order to try and amend parts of the report which criticises urban development policy in Spain. The report is based on complaints sent to Brussels from the Comunidad Valenciana, Madrid and Andalucía. The report, which was presented by the Danish EU MP, Margrete Auken, alleges that nothing has changed in Spanish urban development policy despite the substitution of the regulatory law on urban activity (LRAU) with the Valencian Urban development law (LUV).

The report which was discussed in the European parliament yesterday criticises Spanish urban development policy and proposes a moratorium on all plans for urban development in Spain which do not respect the environment, amendments to the law and the establishment of compensation for land expropriated from individuals.

The polish EU MP, Marcin Libicki, criticised the presentation of the report and the subsequent debate because it was not attended by any representatives from the Spanish government. Libicki said that the government had rejected invitations to attend the debate which centred on the abuse of urban development in the Comunidad Valenciana, Murcia and Andalucía. The PP main opposition party said that members of PSOE had excused their attendance of the debate on the grounds that they did not have information on the dates of the debate given that the invitations had arrived during the Christmas break. In the end it was left up to the Environmental Secretary for Autonomous regions, María Ángeles Ureña, to defend Spanish policy on urban development. She assured members of the EU parliament that it complied both with European directives and Spanish law.

No regional representatives from Andalucía or Madrid were present at the debate either.

The EU MP for PSOE, María Sornosa announced the intention of amending a number of paragraphs of the preliminary report which threatens to freeze EU funds destined for Spain if a number of allegations of abuse of the law are not successfully resolved. She considered that the moratorium against the report does not go far enough. She said that the threat to freeze EU funds would set a ‘bad precedent’. She also said that the paragraphs that place doubt on whether the right to property ownership is guaranteed under Spanish law should be omitted from the report.

The EU MP for the PP, Gerardo Galeote also announced a number of amendments to to correct the report which it considered to be biased. Galeote questioned the document in which the most serious cases of abuse of urban development in two run town halls run by PSOE did not appear.