The leaders of Spain’s two main political parties are to meet on Monday to tackle the crisis over home evictions because of unpaid mortages.
Following anger at the country’s banks, a leading lender in the northern Basque Country said it was suspending repossessions following eviction-related suicides.
Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has said his meeting with socialist opposition leader Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba will aim to stop evictions temporarily, make banks better apply their code of conduct, and renegotiate debts.
“The aim of the meeting on legal reform is that nobody lose their house because of the non-payment of the mortgage due to a difficult situation unforeseen when the mortgage was signed,” said Rubulcaba.
The death of 53-year-old Amaia Egaña in the Basque town of Barakaldo prompted a vigil in her memory and more protests over evictions.
The former socialist councillor threw herself out of her fourth-storey flat, reportedly as court bailiffs came up the stairs to repossess it.
“I feel pain and also shame, shame because the system, and more precisely the justice system that I’m responsible for, hasn’t been able to stop this (the evictions),” said Juan Luis Ibarra, President of the Basque Country Superior Court.
Last month top magistrates denounced evictions, which they said had risen by a fifth this year and totalled 350,000 since the crisis began.
The European Court of Justice is examining Spanish law on evictions having heard official advice that it contravenes European norms.