Spanish fat cat bankers, government make people homeless

This video says about itself:

9 November 2012

The number of evictions in crisis-hit Spain is turning into a national scandal, as a second homeowner committed suicide on the day a foreclosure order was served.

53-year-old Amaya Egaña threw herself from her fourth floor appartment in the Basque town of Barakaldo.

Three hundred and fifty thousand people are said to have lost their homes over unpaid mortgages since the crisis began.

Senior judges in Spain have joined in the criticism of the legislation and there are calls for politicians to act.

“This kind of situation, like the one we had today here, shouldn’t happen. It would be good if those responsible for changing the law did so – and they’re not the judges,” said local judge Juan Carlos Mediavilla.

The European Court of Justice has also criticised Spain’s mortgage legislation and rules over evictions for being incompatible with European norms. Consumers, it says, are not sufficiently protected against abusive clauses in contracts.

Protest groups have sprung up and there have been demonstrations outside banks.

There have been calls for people facing eviction to pay a “social rent” rather than being kicked out of their homes.

Another video which used to be on YouTube used to say about itself:

Nov 10, 2012

Spain vigil held for suicide woman

(ROUGH CUT ONLY – NO REPORTER NARRATION) Residents of the Basque town of Barakaldo held a vigil on Friday (November 9) night in homage to a 53-year-old woman who killed herself jumping out from the balcony of her fourth floor flat from she was about to be evicted. Amaia Egaña had fell back in her mortgage payments, police said.

Neighbours and members of the Spanish Association to Stop Evictions (known in Spanish as PAH), gathered in front of the building where the victim lived to protest against evictions in Spain. Amaia Egana is the second suicide related to evictions in Spain over the last two weeks. … On Thursday (November 8) a report by the Advocate General at the Court of Justice of the European Union (ECJ) Julianne Kokott said that Spanish legislation on evictions contradicts European norms on consumer rights.

By Franci Vier and Paul Mitchell:

Mass evictions continue in Spain

23 April 2013

Last Thursday, the Popular Party (PP) used its majority in Spain’s Congress to pass a Law on Measures to Protect Debtors, Debt Restructuring and Social Renting.

The law was prompted by an anti-evictions petition launched by the Mortgage Victims Platform (Plataforma de Afectados por la Hipoteca, PAH), which received 1.5 million signatures. The three main demands of the petition, known as the Legislative Initiative for Decent Housing (Inciativa Legislativa Popular, ILP) were a backdated halt to evictions, the creation of a pool of social housing for those who are made homeless, and a new law to allow those who have had their homes foreclosed to write off their debts by handing the property over to the bank. Under Spanish law, a mortgage holder can be made to pay off a remaining loan if the value of the property does not cover the debt.

The PAH claimed the PP government could be pressured to update Spain’s eviction laws because they were incompatible with a democratic society and European law even though they were fully aware that only one of the 66 ILPs presented to Congress since 1977 has ever made its way onto the statute books.

None of the ILP demands were included in the PP’s new law. It is so narrow that only a very small proportion of those facing eviction will be covered, and it won’t apply to existing eviction orders. Regional and local authorities have been given powers to provide low-rent housing to evicted families, but only a fraction of those affected will be covered. Most regions are highly indebted and subject to deficit targets so will not provide the accommodation or, if they do, cut expenditure on other services. In Madrid, where there were nearly 15,000 evictions last year, only 1,000 apartments are being made available.

The PAH website complained, “Although the PP ignores the collected signatures and aims to bury the ILP on Thursday in Congress we do not give up because there are lives at stake. We will continue to fight to prevent social exclusion for life for thousands of families. Yes we can!”

PAH spokeswoman and co-founder, Ada Colau, declared, “The PP’s proposal as it stands is one of economic, social and legal chaos.”

Evictions have become a major political issue in Spain, with huge sympathy for those caught in the mortgage trap at the same time as the banks have been bailed out with tens of billions of euros on low interest. Sympathy grew further following shocking incidents of people committing suicide as the bailiffs came to throw them out of their homes. According to the country’s top legal body, the General Council of Judicial Power, there have been 415,000 eviction orders since 2008, and some 60 percent have been carried out.

Under Spanish law, if an ILP has sufficient signatures, the government has to consider legislation. In mid-February, the PP government voted in favour of a debate—a manoeuvre clearly intended to neuter the demands. The PAH and many left groups celebrated the PP’s move, saying it vindicated the use of pressure politics as an instrument to fight for the interests of the people and to rectify social wrongs.

To keep up the pressure, the PAH established a direct-action campaign of noisy but peaceful public denunciations or “unmaskings” (escraches) of individual politicians outside their homes under the slogan “Yes we can…. But they don’t want to.”

The PP was unmoved, saying the ILP demands undermined the fundamental concept of private property and would worsen the finances of the country’s hugely indebted banks. When the PP presented its watered-down proposals, the PAH responded by stepping up the campaign of escraches. Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy accused them of “acts of intimidation,” and PP general secretary María Dolores de Cospedal called them “pure Nazism.”

What a chutzpah. As the PP are the political heirs of dictator Franco, who collaborated with Hitler’s nazis, including on the Holocaust.

Police were ordered to erect barriers around politicians’ homes and prevent protests coming closer than 300 metres. After the escrache in front of the home of Vice President Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría, three protesters were fined €1,500 each and 15 others were fined €200 to €250. …

The anti-eviction campaign struck a chord with workers and youth. Polls suggest that 80 percent of the population supported the ILP, and a similar percentage is behind the escraches. This sentiment expresses the anger and frustration within the Spanish population suffering austerity measures and social cuts.

Barcelona Squatters Occupy Buildings Taken Over By Banks: here.

Spain jobless total worst since Franco: here.

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