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MEP's speak out agains the Spanish 'Coastal Law'

Wed 24th Mar 2010

Cross-Party British Euro-MP's have criticised the Petitions Commission, concerning the law regarding Spanish coastal properties, stating how they believe it unfairly confiscates the property of those who purchased in good faith.

One Conservative M.E.P. has even taken the dramatic step of recommending that his constituents should not buy property in Spain. Roger Hellmer Stated ‘If Spain wanted to enter the EU today, it would have many problems because of its lack of respect of the right to property.'

Fellow MEP, Michael Cashman, added ‘There is a lot of corruption which is tarnishing the image of Spain. It is a totalitarian country'.

Alicia Paz, the General Director for Coasts, said that the Spanish Constitution defines the first line of the beach as public land, and that all Spanish Governments have applied the law since it was approved by parliament in 1988.

The EU Petitions Commission has already issued a damming report on town planning in Spain, and has now moved on to the issue of coastal law having received ‘dozens of complaints' from ex-pat residents, because the law grants a 60 year concession on such properties built on ‘public land' before 1988, after which time they will be demolished.

MEP Margaret Auken called the Ley de Costas as ‘extraordinary' and stated how the problem is how it is being applied unequally - with modest family homes falling victim to the law on the one side and with large hotels still being built on the other.

Many retired Europeans purchased beach-front properties in good faith, without anybody advising them that, under the Ley de Costas, they were only purchasing the concession and not the freehold. It was only later that they discovered that their property was largely unsalable.

The General Director agreed that there was still much confusion surrounding the law, and that many had criticized the demolition of properties at Cho Vito in the Canaries in particular, but in this instance she said the properties were also built illegally.

Many of those affected by the Ley de Costas will meet with the Petitions Committee in Brussels today in order to present evidence against the Spanish authorities.

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