November 25, 2005 at 12:54 pm #51384
November 29, 2005 at 1:55 pm #60034
Below is an email I received this morning from Charles Svodoba – President of AUN – the association who highlighted the abuses to the EU
If you are looking to buy a property in the Valencia region then I would urge you to follow some very simple advice.
DO NOT – UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES – BUY RUSTIC LAND
if you do you leave ytourself wide open to being caught out. Whilst the law is changing it isnt there yet and they have announced a moratorium on some building plans but not all.
If you go to buy a villa – ask yourself the following questions
1. Is it in an urbanisation?
2. If so is it on Urbanised land (most are but not all)
3. Does it have electricity and water – mains not generator and deposito – if not then it isnt urbanised – it is rustic
4. Does it have a lot of land (more than say 2000M) if so then it is highly unlikely to be urbanised
5. Is it cheap? – probably rustic then
If you drop me a line with where you are looking to buy I will try and tell you where the urbanisations that are legal are
Events update ( Nov 27, 2005)
Summary: The past week has been quite event filled. The visit of the Dutch Ambassador here, the highly successful outcome of the Brussels vote in the Petitions Committee and the strong support of the European Commission in response to our concerns, as well as the subsequent imposition of a partial moratorium on the approval of new development projects in Valencia are now current history. They set the stage for discussions in the Cortes in the next week to finalise the new land law (LUV) and the vote, mid December, in the full EU Parliament on the report of the May/June fact Finding Mission looking into abuses under the current land laws.
Report: The first event of this past week was the visit to Valencia and Benissa of the Dutch Ambassador, Baron Van Heemstra, his wife and Economic Counsellor (Andre Dreissen) on Nov. 21. The Ambassador had had a substantive meeting that morning with Sr. Blasco, Conseller for Urbanismo and Environment in the morning, as well as a courtesy call and discussion with Julio De España, the President (Speaker) of the Valencian Cortes. Several members of the local Dutch community in this area -some 25 in all met with the Ambassador and his entourage at the “Sede Universitaria” in Benissa late in the afternoon. He was able to brief those present on the earlier meetings, and hear about the difficulties some of the Dutch community here are having as a result of the “land grab” laws. The Ambassador had been given the conventional treatment as regards promises to introduce the new law (LUV) intended to replace the LRAU, what the new law would contain, etc.
Nothing our members will not already have heard. As a result of our gathering the Ambassador will be seeking some clarification from Sr. Blasco about some of his commitments. For example, just when is the new law to go into effect, and will the LRAU govern not just those development plans approved before the LUV is in force, or will it apply to all those that are merely presented? (The Ambassador was to go on to Benidorm the next morning when he would be meeting with a much larger gathering of Dutch residents, many of whom are unhappy about new plans by the Dutch government to withhold significantly greater amounts from pensions for medical plans. So much, according to some, that many pensioners will be forced to return to the
For us the principal event was the vote taken in the EU Parliament’s Petitions Committee on November 23. This concerned the provisional document emerging from the May/ June Fact Finding Mission, and a series of amendments intended to give it more force. AUN and others had expressed the view that the document, drafted by Mme. Fourtou, did not adequately reflect the testimony the fact finding mission had received or the hundreds of letters addressed to her from victims of the land laws. Fortunately amendments, principally those presented by Michael Cashman (UK, Labour) and David Hammerstein ( Valencia, Greens) which closely reflected our earlier suggestions were accepted and the entire, revised document was adopted by 22 yes, 0 against, and one abstention ( EPP) out of 24 possible votes. This was an overwhelming victory, including the positive votes of some EPP members, the EU party most closely allied with the governing Partido Popular here.
The only element which was less than positive from our perspective was a last minute amendment , introduced by Joan Calabuig ( Socialist, Valencia), which reduced the effectiveness of the text. This trade off may however have been necessary to gain the overwhelming number of votes shown in the final result. A consolidated text has been promised within a few days.
Meanwhile our thanks go out not just to the MEPs who supported the report, but to the Petitions Committee Secretariat and others who helped in Brussels. Also to many of our members who contacted MEPs urging them to support the amendments, the report and ultimately our principal objectives.
The next step in the Parliamentary process should unfold on Dec. 14 in Strasbourg, when the full parliament is to consider the report and vote on its adoption. It is possible that there will be further amendments proposed and a delay due to other priorities is always possible, if not probable.
Depending on what we learn in the next week, we may ask members again to contact MEPs to urge support for the report. Given that several hundred MEPs, rather than those in the Petitions Committee alone will be involved in the vote, with less familiarity with our concerns, this may be a vital part in finalizing the Parliamentary process for the immediate future. If approved, the Parliament will keep this matter on its agenda, and the Rapporteur will remain involved, should we need to return to that level.
Very important too was the statement made at the Nov. 23rd meeting by a senior member of the Internal Markets directorate of the European Commission. Echoing what the Commissioner for Internal Markets ( McGreevy) and her own colleague had stated prior to and at the Oct. 11 meeting, both the current and promised land laws fall short of compliance with the relevant EU laws, in this case Public Contracts ( procurement), meaning that infringement proceedings against Spain would go ahead. (Separately we have learned that other directorates in the EC , Europe’s executive arm, are examining some of the mega projects, including golf courses, openly expressing the view that these too fall short of EU norms, and may also result in actions before the Court of Justice, which has the authority to levy heavy fines where EU laws are breached within a member state.)
One almost immediate consequence of the vote was the announcement, the next day, Nov. 24 by Sr. Blasco that a partial moratorium on the approval of new development plans would be imposed, where such plans would involve reclassification of land from Non Urbanizabe to Urbanizable. According to media reports that means that there will be a freeze on such approvals , until the proposed LUV goes into force, now “promised” within the next two-three months ( we doubt this will be feasible) . El Mundo ( Alicante Section, Tema del Dia , Nov. 26) reports that as a result of this decision, revealed at the “Urbe” property show in Valencia, some 43,000 dwellings, three golf complexes and 5 industrial parks will not get approval at least for some months. On the same page, another report suggests that this “moratorium lite” will affect 80 development plans and 70,000 housing units throughout the Valencian Community. In making the basic announcement , Sr.
Blasco again promised that the new law would “fully” -if not explicitly-reflect the demands made by the EU, Parliament and Commission. He did not refer to the current LRAU, which for many plans will continue to be the legal framework until those plans are completed ,perhaps not for a decade or more. AUN and many MEPs had been pressing for a complete ban on the approval of new plans, whether or not they involved reclassification of land. The Calabuig amendment restricted the wording in the report to plans involving such reclassifications.
The timing of the Petitions Committee vote, as well as the upcoming one in the full Parliament is fortunate because both should have a direct impact on the consideration of the draft LUV in the Valencian Cortes this coming week.
No doubt the results will also have a significant bearing on related processes such as those under way in the European Court of Human Rights and the Commission. Stay tuned. CVS
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