The British expatriates who are currently embroiled in the long-running Spanish property row have taken their case to the EU Petitions Committee in Brussels.
Abusos Urbanisticos Almanzora No (AUAN) is an action group set up to assist the expats who are trying to see their properties recognised as legal constructions. Though the properties were built illegally the expats were led to believe they were in fact legal by corrupt Spanish officials.
The ensuing legal row has created much controversy in Spain, and the affected expats are fervently fighting their case. The outcome for them if they see no solution is bleak- the homes they spent vast sums of money on will be demolished without compensation.
Now, Maura Hillen, the president of AUAN, has taken a petition to the EU Petitions Committee in a bid to see a satisfying result. Hillen said: “These abuses contravene the EU Treaty and the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights and these laws must be respected and complied with by Spain.”
Hillen will address the Committee with the argument that the property row contravenes EU laws that allow the free movement of people and the free movement of capital because by destroying the homes the expats, members of other EU states, are effectively having their investments taken away without the option of disinvesting.
The campaign has the backing of politicians back in the UK. Labour MEP Michael Cashman, a long-time supporter, applauds the move: “I have literally received thousands of letters and emails from people, across Europe, who are affected by the many property-related problems in differing parts of Spain. This week we will once again shed the light on these scandals and support the courageous victims who have brilliantly organised themselves against never-ending abuses,” he said.
However, whether approaching the committee will see any rewards is yet to be seen, although they can recommend a change the ultimate decision will come down to the Spanish government, as a Petitions Committee spokesman explained: “We in the European Parliament, from all the different parties, have been calling for years for solutions to these scandalous problems ranging from a moratorium on new urbanisations and demolitions to infringement cases from the European Commission. However, nothing can be done without the cooperation of the Spanish national and regional governments.”
Despite this fact positives still remain, and the Committee spokesman feels that the expats are due a good result: “It is high time for the victims to be compensated and we will keep up the pressure until they are,” he added.