Instances of home evictions and mortgage practices in Spain
Première transmission: 24/04/2013
European Parliament, Brussels
Fin de production: 24/04/2013
Committee of Petitions of the EP listened today to Ada COLAU, spokeswoman of the Spanish organisation "Plataforma de Afectados por la Hipoteca" (PAH) on the instances of home evictions and mortgage practices in Spain. The Committee analysed demands of four different citizens asking to introduce datio in solutum in the Spanish law and to protect this collective of people affected by mortgages who, in addition to lose their homes, must continue to pay the debt. Petitioners affirm that the practices of expulsing people from their homes infringes article 47 of the Spanish constitution which defends that every person has the right to have a decent house. More than 400.000 families have been affected by mortgages in Spain.
Only the original language version is authentic and it prevails in the event of its differing from the translated versions.
||Supporters of the 'Plataforma de Afectados por la Hipoteca' showing a banner in front of the door of the EP room where the Petitions Committee took place (3 shots)
||Ambiance shots before the debate (2 shots)
||SOUNDBITE (Spanish) ADA COLAU, spokeswoman de 'Plataforma de Afectados por la Hipoteca': "On the house issues, we are talking about more than 400.000 home evictions in the last five years. And just in 2012, 40.000 evictions of people's main homes. This means, more than 100 evictions in a day, it is to say, one eviction every 15 minutes of the main house, which affects families, we are not talking about commercial establishments . We are not talking about or houses to speculate".
||SOUNDBITE (Spanish) ADA COLAU, spokeswoman de 'Plataforma de Afectados por la Hipoteca': "In addition, the tension that this (evictions) suppose is affecting seriously to other rights like the health right. There are thousands of families with disorders, anxiety, depression, there are even suicidal attempts and, unfortunately, suicides directly linked with these evictions and with this financial conviction for their entire lives. This affects children, old people, sick people. The law does not distinguish between cases, therefore all kind of people are being affected by this serious situations, by this criminal law that convicts the people forever".
||SOUNDBITE (Spanish) ADA COLAU, spokeswoman de 'Plataforma de Afectados por la Hipoteca': "There is the paradox that (Spain) is the country that accumulates more empty houses. The last official numbers from the State show that there are 3.5 millions of empty houses, which represents more than 13% from the total. It is to say, the country with the bigger number of empty houses is the country that executes the most main houses evictions".
||Cutaways (3 shots)
||SOUNDBITE (Spanish) ADA COLAU, spokeswoman de 'Plataforma de Afectados por la Hipoteca': "In Spain we have an absolutely exceptional situation because there is a living emergency. It is the country of Europe with the most evictions and at the same time it is the country of Europe with the highest number of empty houses and with less social housing. So thousands and thousands of people are not only being thrown out in the streets, but also, according to the Spanish law, they are condemned to a life time debt impossible to pay. That does not exist in any other country, so we came here to ask the European Union to take a position in this conflict because it is bringing suffering to thousands of people. What we want is Spain to be on equal footing with other member states".
||SOUNDBITE (Spanish) ADA COLAU, spokeswoman de 'Plataforma de Afectados por la Hipoteca': "We hope for a strong position (from the MEPs) because the Spanish population is generally eurosceptical, when European elections take place there is a strong abstention. I think that could change if, in crucial topics for Spanish people, the members of the European Parliament would have a strong position, proving that Europe can be useful".
||SOUNDBITE (Spanish) Carlos José ITURGAIZ ANGULO (EPP, SP), Vice-chair Committee on Petitions, about the 'escraches': "I wish you could lead a movement in Spain to stop the 'escraches' immediately, the harassment, the intimidation, that you, together with other people, are leading. You haven't explained to the MEPs of Greece, Romania, Denmark, Bulgaria or the United Kingdom, that are here now, what means what you call 'social mobilisation'. You didn't want to explain it. Explain also what it is the social mobilisation of the 'escrache', who the 'escrache' harms and against who is addressed. You, that you know it so well".
||SOUNDBITE (Spanish) Carlos José ITURGAIZ ANGULO (EPP, SP), Vice-chair Committee on Petitions, about the 'escraches': 'For the Partido Popular, far from intimidating us, those actions of the 'escraches' give us strength to continue defending our ideas. And this is said by a resistant. I say it with all the meaning this topic has for you".
||SOUNDBITE (Spanish) Antolín SÁNCHEZ PRESEDO (S&D, SP): "When there is a problem with a mortgage, the first answer should not be foreclosure, I do not think this is reasonable. There should be a reasonable tolerance in order to find less traumatic solutions to these problems".
||SOUNDBITE (Spanish) Raül ROMEVA (Greens/EFA, SP): "I insist, we are in front of a humanitarian situation. We are facing a situation that requires a change of the legislation".
||Cutaways (3 shots)