Podemos are attacking "a lack of will" to press for restrictions. | Isaac Pons de Rosa


Spain's secretary of state for parliamentary relations has responded to questions raised by two Podemos deputies in Congress, Antonia Jover and Lucía Muñoz, regarding any restrictions on home buying by non-residents in the Balearics by stating that "freedom of movement of capital protects the right of European citizens to acquire second homes in another state of the Union". The EU treaty prohibits all restrictions on capital limitations to member states, as well as between these and third countries, the secretary of state notes.

Given this response, Jover, who is the Podemos candidate for the Balearic presidency at this May's elections, has criticised the Spanish government's lack of will, saying that "the right wing" of the coalition (by which she means Pedro Sánchez's PSOE) "is looking the other way" instead of facilitating a "Balearic exception", which the EU granted Spain in respect of gas prices.

The response goes on to say that any restriction that is adopted "for reasons of public order or public security must be necessary, proportionate and not discriminatory”. It doesn't therefore refer to economic issues, and housing is not mentioned as a key element for any limitations. Those which exist in other European countries were included in the European Accession Treaty of the respective countries, so they are "primary law of the EU".

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In replying to other questions raised by Jover and Muñoz, the secretary of state does not say whether the feasibility of adopting this measure has been investigated or if the government intends to promote a regulatory framework that would allow it.

Regarding promotion of such a regulatory framework, Spain's Senate last year approved a motion that called on the government to use Spain's presidency of the EU - the second half of 2023 - to do precisely this. President Armengol has also referred to the EU presidency as creating the possibility of seeking amendment to EU law.

The secretary of state's response will probably not prove to be the final word on the matter.