Blogging from the Highlands of Scotland until I return to the Murcia region of Spain towards the end of January 2018 for about a month
'Fair and softly goes far' - Miguel de Cervantes

Friday, 23 January 2009

Spanish political parties unite in light of EU criticism of its lax property development practices

Spain's two main political parties, normally fierce and bitter rivals, have presented a joint front in the face of condemnation in a draft report by Margrete Auken, a Danish MEP from the Greens, commissioned by the Petitions Committee of the European Parliament to report on property and environmental abuse in Spain.

Her report includes harsh criticism of 'Spain’s urban planning practices, weak property rights, and unresponsive legal system.'. The Valencian Community receives much of the condemnation.

According to the linked report:

Most of the urban plans denounced to the Petitions Committee involved the reclassification of rural land that lead to “considerable economic gains for to the urbaniser and developer.”

Auken also argues that the unfettered urban development has wreaked massive destruction on the Spanish Mediterranean over the last decade, “and all for the greed and speculation of some local authorities and members of the construction sector.”

Does this have a familiar ring in Murcia too, anyone?

What has come as a surprise is the U-turn by Spanish PSOE (i.e. 'Socialist') MEPs who have joined forces with opposition Partido Popular MEPs:

... to try and water down the report with amendments to remove references to a moratorium, and sections criticising the Spanish judicial system.

Spanish Property Insight summarises the situation thus:

Commentators in the Spanish press suggest that, with the construction sector in a deep recession, and with European elections just around the corner, the Socialists don’t want to be seen attacking a sector that has already shed hundreds of thousands of jobs, nor supporting moves denying Spain EU structural funds.

Hard politics. And foreign owners of property in Spain are likely to be the last people the Spanish authorities will be concerned about upsetting. It will need strong will and a tough hide to combat this grotesque skein of corruption.

2 comments - please add your own:

Anonymous said...

Hi Bill,

I should have thought that potential foreign buyers were the first people the Spanish authorities should be considering. The Spanish construction industry will not recover until such buyers feel that they can buy in Spain with confidence, though I agree with you that in practice it is unlikely this will turn out to be the case.


Bill said...


Logically one would think that's what should happen, but foreigners generally don't make use of whatever 'rights' that may have in a co-ordinated way - and they don't have votes in national elections, even if they do in local and European elections (if they're EU citizens).

Short-term political interests, espccially in difficult times like these may make it harder to get decent outcomes, whatever the European Parliament and Commission may decree.