CASHMAN CONTINUES FIGHT FOR JUSTICE FOR INNOCENT CITIZENS AFFECTED BY SPANISH LAND GRAB LAWS
Michael Cashman, Labour MEP continued the fight for justice for those affected by Spain's infamous land grab law at a meeting of the European Parliament's Petition's committee in Brussels last week.
Several petitioners from Parcent in the Valencian region were present to explain to the committee how their dreams turned to nightmares upon learning that their town hall, at the last moment, before the old land law (LRAU) expired last January had decided to approve three huge developments that would quintuple the population, exhaust the water supply and completely change the character of the tranquil area in which so many Spaniards, British and other EU citizens had invested in good faith. In many other areas of the Valencian region homes bought in the same good faith are in the process of being deemed 'illegally built' by the Valencian regional government. As a consequence, just in Valencia's town of Catral alone, up to 1500 homes belonging to people from the UK, Germany, Holland and Spain risk being demolished.
Speaking during the meeting, Michael, who has been championing the fight for justice for those affected for several years now, said:
"I'm concerned by number of people affected by this issue not only in Parcent but in Valencia as a whole. More worrying still is the increase in petitions we are receiving from other parts of Spain - Madrid, Murcia, Andalucía, which suggest that other regions are falling into the same traps encountered in Valencia" continued Michael
On behalf of the petitioners a Parcent residents' committee spokesperson said
'We are grateful to the Petitions Committee for the work they are doing to protect our environment and we urge them to act with the greatest urgency to stop these plans before the bulldozers start destroying the mountainside,
After hearing the petitioners present their case Michael took the floor proposing that due to the seriousness of the Parcent case and the many others still occurring both in the Valencian community and other areas in Spain, a further visit be undertaken to the region to investigate this and other petitions. Michael also proposed an urgent meeting with Commissioner Dimas of the Environment Ministry to discuss the speed at which the Commission is able to respond to imminent threats to the environment.Both proposals were accepted by the Committee and a visit to the Parcent and the Valencian community is planned for next year.
The European Parliament and European Commission have been closely examining the new law in Valencia, the LUV, in the face of evidence that Spain and certain of its autonomous regions are acting in breach of EU laws regarding public procurement , the preservation of the environment and fundamental human rights . Spain must now provide the Commission with evidence to the contrary if they are to avoid being taken before the European Court of Justice once more and for the first time ever to the Court of Human Rights .
On Michael's request, the European Parliament will debate these issues in a plenary session in early 2007.
"We are sticking to our promise in last year's report that we would closely monitoring the situation on the ground. I will do all I can to maintain the pressure on the Spain and Valencian governments to change their laws, end the abuses and ensure justice is done for all those innocent citizens affected" concluded Michael
For further comment please contact Michael Cashman on 0044 797 336 2811 or 0032 477 625 735
Notes for Editors:
For more information on the petitions discussed see agenda item number 22 and 23 (left column of webpage)
The Petitions committee agreed at its meeting of today 21st November with Michael's recommendation to the Co-ordinators to submit and Oral Question on the issue to plenary at the start of 2007.
For more information on oral questions to the Commission see:
See link to Commission press release for more details on the October decision by the Commission and its implications:
The formal request ("reasoned opinion"), from the Commission represents a second stage on the road towards the ECJ.
The European Parliament sent 2 delegations to the Valencian region in 2004 and 2005 to investigate concerns raised by some 15,000 citizens who had submitted petitions on the issue. Michael Cashman was head of the second delegation in his capacity as First Vice Chair of the Petition's committee.
In December 2005 the EP adopted a report which made a series of recommendations to the Valencian government in order to rectify the inconsistencies between the LRAU law and EU law. In reaction to the Parliament's and Commission's concerns of breach of EC law, the Valencian government adopted a new law (LUV law) in December 2005. The Commission and EP remain unconvinced that this new law conforms with EU law.
See link to EP's report (Fourtou report) adopted in December 2005: