Press Release

8th April 2010

'Sort out Spanish property problems or suspend EU funding', says Labour MEP

A Labour MEP has hit out at the Spanish government over its failure to support people, including many British citizens, who are facing the prospect of their homes being demolished.

North East MEP, Stephen Hughes has been pushing for Spain's national government to step in to solve the disagreement over local planning laws but, with the authorities failing to respond, he is calling for EU funding to the affected region to be suspended.

The call came as Hughes travels to Spain to see the situation for himself and to speak with those affected.

In many cases people face the prospect of their properties being knocked down because, while they purchased them through the Spanish legal system, it subsequently transpired that the properties were in breach of laws designed to prevent development too close to the coastline.

The bulk of the people affected are Spanish citizens but the problem affects all EU citizens, including thousands of British people who have bought retirement or holiday properties in AndalucĂ­a, Valencia, Murcia and other regions of Spain.

The European Parliament's Petitions Committee has received over 15,000 petitions from individuals concerned about the subject.

Stephen Hughes said: "We have been working on this since 2004 and it remains unresolved. The Spanish Government needs to address, together with the regional authorities, the recurring breaches of fundamental rights.

"It is vital for the parties to come together to resolve this on behalf of all the EU citizens who have been involved in these property problems, which they did not cause. They have legally purchased illegally-built houses!"

Stephen Hughes added: "I've lost count of the number of complaints I have received on this issue. It is now damaging Spain's international reputation and the government should step in to sort it out.

"It's time for something to be done to end the worry and heartache of people who wake up everyday under the threat of demolition orders. If no action is taken, EU funding to the region should be suspended until EU citizens' rights are properly respected."

ENDS

For more information contact  Cyndi Beaver on 07764198400