European Parliament delegation visit Valencia to challenge Land Laws

Last week members of the European Committee on Petitions visited Valencia and Alicante on a fact-finding mission to meet with victims of the Valencian LRAU land laws and political representatives. Euroresidentes has received this press statement on behalf of the Committee on Petitions regarding their visit.

Valencian Land Law Abuse: Comments on the outcome of the fact-finding visit.

Members of the delegation:
Michael Cashman, 1st Vice Pres. Committee on Petitions, Ms Janelly Fourtou, Rapporteur & Ms Maria Panayotopoulos, 2nd Vice Pres. Committee on Petitions.

During the course of our mission to Madrid and Valencia this week, our delegation met with more than one thousand persons who are among the victims of the Valencian Land Law known as the LRAU. The members of the delegation also visited a number of the affected sites of planned urban developments and spoke with people – both Spanish and from other EU countries, who face massive and apparently abitrary urbanisation charges which they cannot afford as well as the confiscation of a large proportion of their property, or indeed its expropriation, for the sole advantage and benefit of the property developers.

Members were also concerned with the related issues of the impact of such developments on the environment and on water provision.

This situation had already been denounced by the Committee, and the European Commission has initiated an infringement procedure against the Spanish authorities as a result of claims that the EU Directive on Public Procurement has not been respected in relation to many contracts awarded by public authorities to private developers, the urbanising agents.

Petitions lodged with the European Parliament, notably by the association Abusos-Urbanisticos-No, have brought to light some 15,000 cases of alledged abuse.

In the course of its meetings with President Camps, with Minister Rafael Blasco, and with a number of Mayors from the region who are responsible for such developments, the delegation welcomed the fact that a new law had been prepared by the Valencian government with the objective of reforming the urbanisation process in a way which will better reflect the rights of property owners. Nevertheless a number of reservations remain and the delegation are pleased that the government has offered to take account of the comments which the Petitions Committee will formulate on the matter. The cooperation between the European Parliament and the Valencian Parliament on this issue was further confirmed at meetings with the President of the Valencian Parliament and leaders of all the political groups.

The members of the delegation also wish to place on record their acknowledgment and support for the constructive proposals regarding the new law which have been made by the local Ombudsman, the Sindic de Greuges with whom they also held extensive talks in Alicante.

The delegation emphasised their determination to cooperate with the authorities not only in regard to the new draft legislation, but above all, to find solutions to the dramatic and desperate situation that so many families from modest backgrounds have and continue to experience, turning their dreams of new lives in Spain into nightmares of outlandish proportions.

Ms Janelly Fourtou, the European Parliament’s Rapporteur on this issue will present a full report and resolution to a plenary session of the Parliament in the autumn. Draft proposals will be published in the coming weeks for discussion in Committee.

For more information contact Michael Cashman, or David Lowe, Head of the Petitions Committee secretariat, at the European Parliament.