Tuesday, 19 January 2010

"Auken Report", which recommended EU sanctions against Spain if it did not act on illegal building and urban abuse

Margarite Auken, Danish MEP for the Green party and author of the controversial "Auken Report", which recommended EU sanctions against Spain if it did not act on illegal building and urban abuse, demanded yesterday in open parliamentary session that the EU ask for an official report from Madrid on how it will protected property rights for people who have purchased illegal homes.
The question, directed to the President of the European Parliament Jerzy Buzek, coincided with the appearance in front of the EU Parliament of Spanish President Zapatero, who was in Brussels to explain the six month Spanish programme for the EU. Spain took over the rotating presidency of the EU on the 1st of January 2010.
During her question, Ms Auken referred to the "worrying facts" revealed by her report. The Auken Report was approved by the EU in March 2009. "Spain has permitted a culture of endemic corruption to build up around construction" she said.It revealed to the EU the wide range of issues in Spain that has permitted the construction of hundreds of thousands of homes without any permits whatsoever.President Buzek did not reply immediately to the question, but is expected to give a response in the next few days."Many Spanish citizens feel that they must quietly accept fraud and corruption from building companies who can expel them from their homes without any compensation" said Ms Auken.Ms Auken pointed out that the Spanish government has so far refused to give an official reply to the Auken report and so she believes the time has come for the EU to officially demand a reply to the report.The report recommends EU sanctions against Spain if it does not act to tackle urban abuse and property instability in the region.
Willie Meyers, the Izquierda Unida MEP for Andalucia, also used the opportunity to attack the Spanish government for urban abuse.

The Reader recently had an exclusive interview with Mr Meyers when he visited Almeria during a fact finding mission on urban abuse in the province (An interview with MEP Willie Meyers ) where he explained his horror at what he had discovered.Mr Meyers's office has sent an official request to a number of Spanish departments within the Junta de Andalucia and the Spanish government to ask what, if any, notice they have taken of the Auken report.Mr Meyers has also bought the specific example of the Almanzora Valley to the attention of interested parliamentary groups within the EU.Meyer's office released a statement saying "he condemned the many examples of urban abuse produced by rampant and uncontrolled development over the last few years" and saying that innocent home owners must be protected at all costs.Meanwhile, Michael Cashman MEP, has written an open letter to Prime Minister Zapatero. Mr Cashman was one of the MEPs who asked for a European Parliamentary resolution to get Spain to put its house in order given the enormous number of petitions and complaints about building, environmental and urban abuses it had received. According to Mr Cashman there have been over 15,000 petitions as well as a daily flood of letters on this matter.



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