The absolute majority of the PSOE has allowed the approval of a Family Farming Law in the Courts of Castilla-La Mancha that contemplates the possibility of expropriating "underused" land. With the new rule, which came into force on April 18, the regional government can declare that a plot or rustic farm "fails to fulfill the social function of land use", which "may affect the right to property or only the usufruct" of it.
The measure has generated deep concern in the region's agricultural sector, which accounts for 8% of its GDP and employs more than 30,000 people. This is the reason why the Asaja association has prepared a legal report that concludes that the new provision has "a marked political or electoral purpose, but a difficult or non-existent practical application as soon as the affected party puts some will in the defense of their interests".
"There are many mechanisms that the farmer has to justify a close use of the land as soon as the expropriation mechanisms are initiated against him," says its president in Castilla-La Mancha, José María Fresneda. "If we add to this that after three consecutive years of inactivity they have to remain another two consecutive years in the inventory of underused land for the process to start, it is almost impossible for land to be expropriated," he adds.
The point does not convince the PP, where they do not understand "the mistreatment and contempt" to which they consider that the Government of Emiliano García-Page submits to some workers "who are the base of the regional economy." His candidate for the regional elections, Francisco Núñez, has promised that if he is elected president after May 28, one of the first measures he will adopt will be "the repeal of a deeply communist law."
"This is as if one has three houses and since they only live in one, they expropriate the other two and if they have introduced it, it is because they intend to do so," sums up Andrés García Vaquero, president of the Union of Farmers' Unions and Ranchers Castilla-La Mancha. From the Platform in Defense of Ecological Agriculture and Livestock, they point out that they presented allegations during the processing of a regulation that they consider that "it is made to take away land" and that they did not pay "neither attention".
Asaja's own report does point out that people who inherit land and do not have the means to exploit it "in such a short period of time as three years" can be "seriously affected" by the law. Even so, in the majority association of the sector they maintain that they worked for "the protection of private property" -which, they affirm, was not guaranteed in the draft of the text- and that, they have "achieved" it due to the receptivity of the regional Executive to their demands.
In turn, in the Government of Castilla-La Mancha they defend that the important thing about this regulation is that it protects farmers and ranchers in the region "against a model of uberization of the countryside and investment funds that could absorb public aid" because that way they will have priority in the application for subsidies. "Enough of the dirty campaigns. Not everything goes. Everyone knows where the center is and, of course, it is not in the hands of the irresponsible," says a spokesman for the Palacio de Fuensalida in reference to the PP.
From the main opposition party, which together with Ciudadanos voted against this initiative, instead they insist on how "serious" it is that the García-Page Administration has "reserved the right to expropriate land." His interpretation is that, despite the discrepancies that the regional president maintains in public with Pedro Sánchez, with this measure what he has done is "a nod" to the coalition of PSOE and Unidas Podemos at the head of La Moncloa.
According to the norm already in force, the declaration of non-compliance with the social use of land in Castilla-La Mancha will take place in accordance with the Forced Expropriation Law of 1954, at state level, "if a plot or rustic property has remained in the inventory of underutilized land for two consecutive years. This will entail, "after processing the corresponding file", the temporary assignment of its use to the Land Bank for a period of not less than 10 years nor more than 25.
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