Ra­joy aims to stem evic­tions as sui­cide dark­ens cri­sis

The Pak Banker - - Front Page -

MADRID

Prime Min­is­ter Mar­i­ano Ra­joy said he will rush through mea­sures to stem evic­tions in Spain af­ter a woman com­mit­ted sui­cide as of­fi­cials tried to seize her home.

A bi­par­ti­san com­mit­tee will meet to­day to draw up plans to re­duce the num­ber of peo­ple be­ing evicted from their homes as Ra­joy tries to con­trol a grow­ing sense of out­rage at mort­gage fore­clo­sures. The group is set to an­nounce a tem­po­rary halt to evic­tions and in­cen­tivize lenders to rene­go­ti­ate loans and find ways to al­low peo­ple to re­main in their homes, Ra­joy said. The gov­ern­ment “will de­fend the most vul­ner­a­ble fam­i­lies af­fected by the evic­tions and act with se­ri­ous­ness, sen­si­tiv­ity and great hu­man­ity,” the premier told sup­port­ers at a Nov. 9 elec­tion rally in Lerida, Cat­alo­nia. The Span­ish peo­ple are ex­pe­ri­enc­ing “ter­ri­ble things and in­hu­mane sit­u­a­tions.”

Amaia Egana be­came the sec­ond per­son in the past month to com­mit sui­cide in Spain over an evic­tion when she threw her­self from her apart­ment in Bara­caldo as of­fi­cials ar­rived to change the locks on Nov. 9. Some 400,000 homes have been fore­closed on in Spain since the start of the five-year slump that is tear­ing at the fab­ric of the coun­try. The num­ber is set to in­crease with­out gov­ern­ment ac­tion as un­em­ploy­ment reached a record 26 per­cent in Septem­ber.

Banks, set to ben­e­fit from a 100 bil­lioneuro ($127 bil­lion) res­cue pack­age that Ra­joy re­quested from the Euro­pean Union in June, have be­come the fo­cus of pub­lic out­rage over fore­clo­sures amid a grow­ing pub­lic per­cep­tion that they use abu­sive lend­ing prac­tices. In a Met­ro­scopia poll pub­lished yes­ter­day, 91 per­cent of re­spon­dents said lenders ex­ploit clients’ lack of le­gal knowl­edge to in­sert abu­sive clauses into mort­gage con­tracts while just 31 per­cent said some banks have acted in good faith.

“If we bail out the banks, how can we not bail out fam­i­lies?” So­cial­ist Party No. 2 Elena Va­len­ciano said in a Nov. 7 in­ter­view on Telecinco. She is ne­go­ti­at­ing the evic­tion mea­sures with Deputy Prime Min­is­ter So­raya Saenz de San­ta­maria.

Span­ish unions have called for a gen­eral strike against Ra­joy’s aus­ter­ity poli­cies on Nov. 14. The la­bor ac­tion co­in­cides with a gen­eral strike in neigh­bor­ing Por­tu­gal and an EU- wide protest day called by the Euro­pean Trade Union Con­fed­er­a­tion.

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