Snap elections prompt German lawmakers to cancel trip to Spain’s Doñana National Park

THE SNAP general election that has been called for July 23 continues to have unexpected consequences. On Monday, a group of German lawmakers opted to call off a visit they were going to make to Doñana in Huelva, where they were going to inspect the situation in the area regarding the lack of water and strawberry growing. 

The visit comes in the context of ongoing calls in Germany for a boycott of Spanish strawberries, with the aim of avoiding any worsening of the drying out of the Doñana National Park. 

“So that it can grow cheap strawberries for Germany, Spain is running the risk of a catastrophe due to drought in one of its most important national parks,” read a statement issued last week by German association Campact, which is behind the campaign. 

The delegation of German lawmakers that was due to travel to Andalusia, however, took the unilateral decision to cancel their visit due to the upcoming elections, thus avoiding causing any controversy during the campaign. 

The group said that it will, however, make the journey in the future, according to news agency Europa Press. 

Doñana was recently at the centre of a political storm, after the Popular Party-led regional parliament approved legislation in April that could see watering rights regularised for some 800 hectares of farmland located near to the protected wetlands. 

Under the plan, agricultural land that is currently illegal or on the margins would be regularised. While a lot of farmland in the area – much of which is used to produce strawberries and other fruits – is legal, a lot is irregular or on the margins of being so. 

Scientists have warned that new irrigable land in the area will put yet more pressure on the Doñana park, depleting the levels of its aquifer yet further. Around 60% of the temporary lagoons in Doñana have not flooded since 2013, which has led to the disappearance of flora and fauna, according to a report from the Doñana Biological station, cited by Spanish daily El Pais.

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