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Spanish coastal law revision welcomed
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Published on 03-08-12

The announcement by the Spanish government that it will reform the Coastal Law (Ley de Costas) to improve legal certainty for property owners along the Spanish coast, whilst ensuring effective protection of the coastal environment, has been welcomed by the EU Justice Commissioner. The move is in response to complaints by Spanish and EU nationals to the Commission that the law and the way it was applied breached their EU rights.

    Spanish coastal law revision welcomed

    "The Spanish Government is right to protect Spain's beautiful coastline and I applaud the care it is now taking to do so in a way that improves legal certainty and due process for citizens who own property on the Spanish coast or who are thinking of doing so. The preliminary draft law will be available online over the coming weeks and I call on everyone with an interest in this issue – who owns or wants to buy property in Spain for example – to look at the draft law online to understand what these changes would mean and to make any necessary comments," said Vice-President Viviane Reding, the EU's Justice Commissioner.

    The draft law would extend the period of the existing concession to enjoy possession of properties built in the protected zone (public domain) from 30 years to 75 years.

    It would also introduce the possibility to sell this interest in the property – subject to prior authorisation – and to renovate the buildings situated in this zone, as long as this would not imply a change in the volume, height or surface of the property.

    In addition, the public administration will be obliged to register the definitive and provisional demarcation line in the property register, so that purchasers will be better informed about whether the property is situated in a protected area and the exact location and extension of this area.

    The demarcation lines will also be published on the website of the Spanish Ministry for Environment.


    The European Commission raised this issue with the Spanish authorities on several occasions after receiving a large number of complaints from both Spanish and other EU citizens. The European Parliament's Petitions Committee organised a specific hearing on the matter and urged the Spanish authorities to revise the Ley de Costas.

    EU citizens can comment on the draft by emailing to

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    Last update: 13/08/2012  |Top