By Vicente Clavero
The two main parties in Spain, the Socialists and the Popular Party, should hang their heads in shame because it took a decision from overseas to fix our legislation on evictions. Legislation, which, since the beginning of the crisis, has been used by banks to seize the homes of half a million families who could not meet their mortgage debts.
The judgement that the Court of Justice of the European Union
on March 14 states that Spanish legislation is incompatible with the EU Directive on consumer protection. Among other things, this is because it does not allow judges to suspend enforcement proceedings, even in the event that potential unfair contract terms are identified.
This has been repeatedly denounced by the affected families and individuals and even the judiciary itself, especially in the wake of the brutal increase in evictions that has taken place in Spain. However, both the Socialists and the Popular Party have turned a deaf ear to all requests for years, perhaps they are fearful of taking decisions against the interests of the banks.
Only popular pressure, channelled through various civic
movements, has made the two big political parties come
together to address the issue in Parliament. But without
committing to take into consideration any of the movements’ key demands, including the clearing of the debt in case of repossession, which had made one fearful of the final outcome of parliament’s work.
Hence the joy in hearing the decision of the European Court of Justice, which tackled the problem without the same reservations as the main parties. Yet even though now they claim – as Popular Party group spokesman in Congress, Alfonso Alonso argued on hearing the news – that the court’s decision had caught parliament ‘red handed’, in the middle of working on the issue.
The ECJ decision has immediate consequences, not only in Spain but in all EU Member States, and judges can benefit from it to stop evictions. The really irritating thing is that thousands and thousands of families have already suffered an ordeal that, with a little more courage, politicians could have avoided.
Translation/editing by Revolting Europe