Thursday, February 19, 2009

A damning report

MEPs have shown overwhelming support for a report which is to go before the European Parliament in March. The Spanish MEPs from both the PSOE and PP have tried to make amendments to the report but these have been rejected.

1. Calls upon the Government of Spain and of the Regions concerned to thoroughly review and revise all legislation affecting the rights of individual property owners in order to bring an end to the abuse of rights and obligations contained in the EC Treaty, in the Charter of Fundamental Rights, in the European Convention of Human Rights and in the relevant EU Directives as well as in other conventions to which the EU is a party;
2. Calls upon the competent regional authorities to declare a moratorium on all new urbanisation plans which do not respect the strict criteria of environmental sustainability and social responsibility and which do not guarantee the respect for the rightful ownership of legitimately acquired property; and to halt and cancel all existing developments where criteria contained in EU law, notably as regards the award of urbanisation contracts and respect for water and environmental provisions, have not been respected or applied;
3. Urges the competent national and regional authorities to establish functioning judicial and administrative mechanisms, involving the regional ombudsmen, which are given the authority to provide means of redress and of compensation for the victims of urbanisation abuse for citizens and residents who have suffered under the provisions of existing legislation such as the LRAU/LUV;
4. Requests the competent financial and commercial bodies concerned with the construction and urbanisation industry to actively participate with the political authorities in the search for solutions to the existing problems, resulting from massive and unsustainable urbanisation, which have affected hundreds of thousands of European citizens who have chosen to take advantage of the provisions of the EU Treaty and who have taken up their rights of establishment under Article 44, in an EU member state which is not their country of origin;
5. Calls upon the EU institutions to provide advice and support, if requested by the Spanish authorities, in order to provide them with the means to properly overcome the disastrous impact of massive urbanisation on citizens’ lives within a duly short yet reasonable time-frame,;
6. Calls upon the Commission, at the same time, to ensure the strict respect for the application Community law and of the objectives contained in the Directives covered by this report and to be more exigent with the Spanish authorities when it appears that many local authorities are not fulfilling their obligations to EU citizens;
7. Expresses its concern and dismay that the legal and judicial authorities in Spain have shown themselves to be largely ill-prepared and inadequate in dealing with the impact of massive urbanisation on peoples’ lives, as is witnessed by the thousands or representations received by the European Parliament and its responsible committee on this issue;
8. Believes, nevertheless, that lack of clarity, precision and certainty relating to individual property rights in existing legislation, and the lack of the proper and consistent application of environmental law is the root cause of many problems related to urbanisation and that this, related to a laxity in the judicial process, has not only compounded the problem but has also generated an endemic form of corruption where, once again, the European citizen is the primary victim, but where the Spanish state has also lost considerably;
9. Pays tribute to, and fully supports, the activities the regional ombudsman - ’sindic de greuges’ - and their staff, as well as to more assiduous investigating magistrates - ‘fiscal’ - who have done an enormous amount in the recent period to restore the integrity of some of the institutions affected by this issue;
10. Praises also, the activity of the petitioners, their associations and the local community associations, involving tens of thousands of Spanish and non-Spanish citizens, who have brought these issues to the attention of the European Parliament and who have been instrumental in safeguarding the fundamental rights of their neighbours and of all those affected by this enormous and complex problem;
11. Recalls that under the terms of the Environmental Impact Assessment Directive and the Strategic Environmental Impact Assessment Directive there is an obligation to consult the public concerned at a stage when plans are being established and drawn up, not as so often has happened in cases brought to the Committee, after the plans have been de facto agreed by the local authority; recalls, in the same context, that any substantial modification to existing plans must also respect this procedure; contents of plans must also be current and not statistically inaccurate or out-of-date;
12. Recalls also that Article 91 of Regulation 1083/2006 empowers the European Commission, to interrupt the payment of structural funding, and Article 92 to suspend such funding to a member state or region concerned, and to establish corrections in relation to projects in receipt of funding which subsequently may be deemed not to have fully respected the application of relevant EU legislative acts;
13. Recalls also that the European Parliament, as the budgetary authority, may also decide to place funding set aside for Cohesion Policies in the reserve chapter if it considers this necessary in order to persuade a member state to end serious breaches of the rules and principles which it obliged to respect either under the Treaty or as a result of the application of EU law, until such times as the problem is resolved;
14. Reiterates its conclusions of past resolutions by calling into question the methods of designation of urbanising agents, and the frequently excessive powers often given to town planners and property developers by certain local authorities at the expense of communities and the citizens who have their homes in the area;
15.  Urges once again, local authorities to consult their citizens and involve them in urban development projects in order to encourage more acceptable and sustainable urban development where this is necessary, in the interest of local communities and not in the sole interest of property developers, estate agents and other vested interests;
16.  Strongly condemns the illicit practice of certain property developers undermine by subterfuge the legitimate ownership of property by European citizens by interfering with land registration and cadastre notifications, and calls upon local authorities to establish proper legal safeguards against this practice;
17. Reaffirms that, where compensation is required for loss of property, it should be awarded at a suitable rate and in conformity with the case law of the European Court of Justice and the European Court of Human Rights;
18.  Reiterates its call on the Commission to initiate an information campaign directed at European citizens buying real estate in a Member State other than their own;
19. Calls upon the President to forward this resolution to the Commission and Council, to the Government and Parliament of the Kingdom of Spain and the Autonomous Regional Assemblies, to the National and Regional Ombudsmen of Spain and to the petitioners.

1 comment:

Brad Zurich said...

during the current economic gloom it would be hard to find any kind of report that would lift the spirits.
Costa Calida Property