Many villages in empty Spain may disappear within two years

by Lorraine Williamson
Empty Spain small villages

MADRID – More than 160 interest groups from 30 provinces are affiliated with the Spanish platform España Vaciada (empty Spain). The organisation claims that without measures from the Spanish government, many villages are in danger of disappearing within two years. 

In September this year, more than 70 members of España Vaciada gathered for the platform’s third general meeting. The meeting´s aim was to find the most efficient way to work towards restoring the territorial balance and combating depopulation. 

After a “realistic, emotional, and in-depth” discussion, it was decided to take steps towards politics. Similar to Teruel Existe, the Spanish citizens’ movement that successfully made the leap into politics in 2019. “It is the only way to find solutions to the depopulation problem in rural areas and small towns”. We trust it will help us in our fight against the consistent deprivation and neglect that violates the constitution, the assembly said. 

Candidate in elections in 2023 

España Vaciada will start procedures to stand as a candidate for the next national elections. These are the municipal elections in 2023. 

Villa Nova Spain

Seat of Teruel Existe of great importance 

Another platform that is committed to more government measures against idleness in Spain is Teruel Existe. It all started for this group when the citizens’ platform won a seat in the Spanish parliament during the elections on November 10, 2019. As a result, the depopulation problem suddenly received more attention. And as a result of the fragmented parliament, Teruel Existe’s single seat was vital in key negotiations, such as the budget. The seat was even necessary to keep the PSOE socialist government in power. 

All this put Tomás Guitarte, foreman of Teruel Existe, in a position to make certain demands, such as the improvement of infrastructure and rural amenities. It also prompted other anti-depopulation platforms to look for opportunities for political interference. 

Theoretical will is not enough 

Guitarte says that the problem of an empty Spain is recognised “in theory”.  But that in practice it is still difficult to come up with concrete measures. The political ambition of a civil society also has its downsides. This is shown when Guitarte had to be secured after he announced his support for the PSOE in 2020. However, in order to continue to influence political measures, you must be actively present. Guitarte thinks that greater representation in parliament offers opportunities to change the “centralist” development model. 

The “theoretical will” alone is not enough, he emphasizes, referring to proposals for social improvements presented in parliament months ago or the redistribution of the €10 billion coming from European funds. “We would like to see active groups in parliament to make Spain a better country as a whole and not just to solve our problems,” said the MP for Teruel Existe. 

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