The Coastal Law aims to protect local habitats by designating an area along the entire coastline as a public domain. However, homeowners within the zone claim the law - and the way it has been applied - breaches their rights. Many of those affected by the Coastal Law are European citizens who have exercised their right of free movement and invested their savings in Spanish property.
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.
Spain is now proposing to reform the law to ensure an effective protection of the coastal environment whilst bringing more legal certainty to homeowners and promoting economic and other activities such as leisure and tourism.
"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 Reding.
"The new Spanish law aims to improve legal certainty for European citizens and businesses and therefore also their confidence when investing in a foreign legal environment. This is good news for citizens, but also for the Spanish economy."