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Land Grab

 

From: CASHMAN Michael [mailto:michael.cashman@europarl.europa.eu]
Sent: Wednesday, November 29, 2006 2:08 PM
To: CASHMAN Michael
Subject: PRESS RELEASE FROM MICHAEL CASHMAN MEP

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 yesterday (28th November) 

Several petitioners from  Parcent  in the Valencian region were present to explain to the committee how their dreams turned to nightmares upon learning that the houses they bought in good faith are in the process of being deemed 'illegally built' by the Valencian regional government. As a consequence, 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:

"There a remote possibility that through the legal system we may get redress. But this is by no means certain and such action will cost us a lot of money to solve a problem not created by us and completely out of our control".

After hearing the petitioners present their case Michael took the floor stating:

"I sympathise with and fully support the petitioners with their case. It is unacceptable that innocent EU citizens from several Member States, who bought property in good faith, are being made to pay twice to ensure their properties are "legal". It is the local council, in conjunction with the developers and constructors, who must bear responsibility for ensuring properties are built in conformity with EU laws. If anyone should pay to make these people's properties, it is them and definitely not the owners!

The European Parliament and European Commission have been closely examining the new law in Valencia, the LUV, and feel that Spain remains in breach of EU laws on public procurement. Spain must now provide the Commission with evidence to the contrary if they are to avoid being taken before the European Court of Justice.

On Michael's request, the European Parliament will debate the issue 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

ENDS//

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)

http://www.europarl.europa.eu/meetdocs/2004_2009/organes/peti/peti_20061127_1500.htm

 

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:

http://www.europarl.europa.eu/omk/sipade3?PROG=RULES-EP&L=EN&REF=RULE-108

See link to Commission press release for more details on the October decision by the Commission and its implications:

http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=IP/06/1370&format=HTML&aged=0&language=EN&guiLanguage=en

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:

http://www.europarl.europa.eu/omk/sipade3?PUBREF=-//EP//NONSGML+REPORT+A6-2005-0382+0+DOC+PDF+V0//EN&L=EN&LEVEL=0&NAV=S&LSTDOC=Y

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