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
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
Article reproduced with kind permission
from Mark Stucklin of the www.spanishpropertyinsight.com