The Platform in Defence of the Ebro (PDE) met yesterday with the delegation of MEPs to explain the environmental dangers of the decline suffered by the Ebro delta, and the risks to the numerous European grants that have been allocated to preserving its ecosystems with the Hydrological Plan for the Ebro basin (PHE). The delegation of MEPs listened to the voice of the Terres de l’Ebre a day after the massive rally that flooded the streets of Amposta. More than fifty thousand people demonstrated to show their resistance to the Spanish government’s hydrological plan for the Ebre basin. This movement in defence of the river has spent years fighting, and was founded in 2000 as a result of projected hydrological plan by the Spanish government.
According to the chairman of the committee, Pál Csáky, a Slovakian MEP belonging to the European People’s party, the report containing recommendations to the European Commission (EC) will be published in a month’s time, but he reiterated that primary responsibility lies with the Spanish government. The Platform in Defence of the Ebro, which has fought for years to bring a European delegation to the area, trusts that the report which will be drafted by the six MEPs during the coming month will include the shocking information it gave them. The Ebro Delta recedes 10 metres each year, and the ecosystems into Europe has invested so much for decades are at risk.
Conclusion of the visit in Madrid
The delegation will end its initial contact with the problems of the Ebro and the Delta at a meeting in Madrid, in which the PDE has not been invited to participate. “We would have liked to participate in a multilateral session. It would have been very interesting to compare presentations and data in front of the MEPs. The Ebro Hydrographic Federation will undoubtedly say that the river is fantastic but we can show that the figures are far from great,” said Susanna Abella, spokesperson for the PDE. The platform delivered a dossier to the MEPs summarising its main grievances, in a report based on technical reports, which are also available to the European representatives if they wish to study the problems presented to them in more depth.
A river of people
Sunday’s demonstration in Amposta was the first of a series that the PDE will stage in the coming months to try to defeat the hydrological plan for the Ebro basin that was approved on 8 January. The aim is for the European Union executive to intervene decisively and without Spanish government interference against what may end up meaning the ecological, social and economic death of the final stretch of the river Ebro and its delta.
It was a ‘lesson in making a country’, in the words of the PDE’s spokesperson Joan Antoni Panisello: ‘the Ebro Delta is in grave danger and is a part of Catalonia. And we have Catalonia’s answer and we will take it as far as we need to.’ ‘From now on the north and south are closer together,’ he announced from the stage, in the knowledge that the demonstration had attracted thousands of people from outside the Terres de l’Ebre.
Take a look at the massive rally’s pictures: