By Marta Andreasen MEP
Last week Zapatero came to close the Spanish presidency of the EU and spent a good half hour telling us about the great things he had achieved. I just could not believe he could boast about success while Spain has now joined the club of those countries that are out for rescue.
Back in January when he came to open the presidency I caught him by surprise when I brought to his attention the dramatic situation that many British citizens were going through due to the threat of having their properties in Spain confiscated without reasonable compensation. Since then I have travelled to Andalucía to support the SOHA (Save Our Homes in Axarquia) march and there I met many of those affected. Others who have houses in other regions have come to my office in Brussels asking for support and I have discussed with them how I could help.
I tried for many months to get a debate and resolution to block funds to Spain to take place during a plenary session at the European Parliament. But this proved terribly difficult as not many MEPs were prepared to openly criticise the Spanish Government. So I decided that my opportunity to make my voice heard was the day Zapatero came to close the presidency.
I criticised him for having done nothing to resolve the problem that was affecting property owners in Spain who were under threat of losing their homes due to either retroactive application of the Coastal Law or the urbanistic abuse practiced by some builders who sold those properties as legal.
The critical moment came when I passed on to him the concern of Mr. Gordon Westerdale who was afraid of becoming victim of a situation similar to that suffered by British in Zimbabwe under Mugabe´s regime. I went on to tell him that what was happening in Spain was a breach of human rights and that the European Union could not possibly run to rescue – financially - a country where such a breach was taking place.
The comments I mention on the paragraph above made Zapatero lose cool and turn my speech into “an offence to the Spanish people”. He referred to the rule of law always at the heart of all procedures...bla bla.
However I had the great news on Friday that the Spanish parliament had decided to take the Coastal Law- one of the causes behind the demolition threats - for debate with a view to reform it drastically. So…my words finally produced an effect and I look to this as a great success!