Spain's Land Grab under
pressure from EU
Spain has come in for a lot of criticism from abroad, principally the British press and the European Parliament,
about the abuse of property rights and the environment during Spain’s gold-rush property boom of the last decade,
but there was surprisingly little discussion of these issues in Spain’s mainstream press.
So it was interesting to read a recent opinion piece in Spain’s leading daily paper ‘El
Pais’, entitled ‘El Gran Saqueo’ or ‘The Big Plundering’, lambasting Spain for the mess it has made of its real
estate sector, environment, and reputation. “You can hardly understand how such a huge scandal could have been
swept under the rug for decades,” writes the author Rafael Argullol. As all addicts know, and that includes
societies addicted to cement, you can’t solve a problem until you acknowledge that you have a problem, so this is
surely a positive sign.
Admittedly it’s just one article, but at least this kind of self criticism is now being given
space in influential media, which is progress of sorts. Sadly, politicians from both of Spain’s mainstream parties
are still in denial.
Spain can still recover from the mistakes of the last boom, but only if it learns from them. Failure to do so
means it is doomed to repeat them, which would ultimately lead to disaster. What does ‘disaster’ mean? It means a
country, and in particular a coastline grotesquely disfigured by over development, a warped economy, a corrupt body
politic, and a poorer, dysfunctional society.
Anyone who is interested can read the El Pais article, as it was published in English a few
days later at the El Pais / International Herald Tribune website.
Article reproduced with kind permission from Mark Stucklin of the www.spanishpropertyinsight.com