Statement by the Petitions Committee (13.12.2005)


Spanish property law - MEPs call on the Commission to act

MEPs adopted a report with 550 votes in favour, 45 against with 25 abstentions on the alleged abuse of the Valencian Land Law known as the LRAU and its effect on European citizens.  

The Parliament invites the competent authorities to take account of the following suggestions, to remedy the problems that have arisen under the present legislation with respect to those aspects of the protection of property rights which raise questions of human and fundamental rights, and with respect to Community law on public procurement:

 –    the inclusion in the new law of a clear definition of public interest which unambiguously prevents the possibility that the ‘public interest’ justification for expropriation – which is a precondition for any expropriation under European human and fundamental rights norms – could be used for the promotion of private, rather than public, interests,

 –    the establishment of binding criteria for the calculation of compensation in cases of expropriation on the basis of the standards and principles recognised by the case-law of the ECJ and ECHR,

 –    fundamental review of the bases for selecting the ‘urbanisator’, and of the procedure for awarding public contracts to the ‘urbanisator’ selected, to ensure that this office is compatible with European law, given the existence of serious doubts on this subject as evidenced by the current infringement proceedings, so as to enhance the transparency of the procedure for awarding public contracts and safeguard the property rights of European citizens,

 –    measures to ensure that each property owner concerned by any urbanisation plans is informed individually, effectively and in good time of any plan, and any aspect thereof, which might affect his or her property and fundamental rights, so as to guarantee an adequate possibility to consider appropriate action.

 The House also calls upon the competent Valencian and Spanish authorities to ensure, through binding norms, that general plans for development and urbanisation which are likely to have significant environmental effects and which set the framework for future development consent of projects are made subject to a strategic environmental impact assessment pursuant to Directive 2001/42/EC.

 The Parliament calls on the Commission to continue to exercise vigilance in terms of monitoring compliance with tendering procedures.

 MEPs ask the Commission to draw on the experiences of this episode and, in view of the large number of EU citizens now buying immovable/real property in EU countries other than their own, to consider what safeguards – legislative, non-legislative or merely advisory – might be appropriate so as to protect and assist citizens undertaking such important transactions and investments outside their home jurisdictions, and to report the outcome of such deliberations to the European Parliament.


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