'El Pais', English edition, 15 5 2009
I am not in the habit of reading the reports of the European Parliament or of any other parliament, but, on the insistence of a friend, I have just read a document which I can recommend to fans of horror literature. This is the report prepared by the Danish euro-deputy Margarete Auken on "the impact of extensive development in Spain on the individual rights of European citizens, the environment and the application of EU law," often referred to as the "Land Grab report" - 30 pages of text that can be read as a horror story or as a short treatise on the worst sort of moral and political conduct.
I would make the report required reading in schools, and for any candidate to public office. Why so much enthusiasm, you ask, over this document which contains the usual leaden prose of EU texts? And the answer is that it constitutes a sort of mirror that reflects the abjectness so sordidly embedded in our public life.
What first catches one's eye is the conspiracy of silence on the matter, and the shameful alliance between Spanish euro-deputies of both the Socialist and Popular parties in rejecting the Auken report-which was, however, approved by the European Parliament last month by 349 votes to 110, with 114 abstentions. This clear majority was opposed to the end by the Spanish deputies.
After reading the report I feel no surprise at this conspiracy of silence, because so many people are exposed in it that you can hardly understand how so huge a scandal could have been swept under the rug for decades. Spain having thus been severely condemned for the impunity of corruption, the national and regional parliaments in Spain have had nothing to say about the matter, and have continued to look the other way.
most repugnant feeling the report gives me is that the pillaging, the
systematic devastation of the Spanish coast and other natural areas -a
devastation that will affect generations - has occurred under democracy
and not under the Franco regime. The conclusion is that our democracy is
so weak as to allow the existence of an antidemocracy that calls into
question much of the progress we have supposedly made.
As we face the wall of cement along our coast, the worst thing is that we already knew all this. It has happened before our very eyes. It was enough to look at the absurdly soaring housing prices, often portrayed as a sign of our collective progress, to perceive that something sick was cooking.
True, at the head of the procession were politicos, speculators and crooks of various ilks, but who went behind them? What did the judges do? Little, says Auken, and so slowly that it was like doing nothing at all. Nor did the public put up any resistance.
Thus ends the
horror story vividly narrated with Nordic ingenuousness by Auken - a story
of pillage and depredation of what belonged to our future. There is little
to add to the picture which, in large part, explains why the economic
crash is now hitting Spain more heavily than other countries. Though it
might be added that this pillage would never have been possible
Many thanks, Ms Auken, for the pretty picture of ourselves.
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