On 5 October 2022, the Senate approved the bill for the creation of a compensation fund for asbestos victims, without introducing any changes to the text as published on 27 July in the Official Journal.
The fund will be effective within a maximum of three months, after the drafting of a regulation. It has a budget for 2023 of 25 million euros, as announced in July by the Socialist MP Mercé Pérea.
This creation represents a “big step” forward according to the victims, after decades of struggle. More than 7,800 people are thought to have died in Spain from asbestos-related cancer and other respiratory and digestive diseases. But according to the CCOO and UGT trade unions, some key issues remain unresolved, such as:
- the amount of compensation: if it is too low, the victims will have to engage in long and costly legal battles
- and tax exemption: the victims could have to pay half of the compensation in taxes.
Finally, the unions denounce the fact that Spain has one of the most belated bans on asbestos in Europe, despite the existence of “solid scientific evidence” on its harmful effect on health. With the creation of an asbestos fund, Spain would join Belgium, France and Italy, which already have one.