Land grabbing, still a huge problem in Eastern Europe

The EU is currently witnessing a massive land grab, which has a direct impact on 25 million of its citizens, changing the way lands are being managed and how food is being produced, writes Attila Szocs.

Attila Szocs is Romania correspondent for Arc2020, a platform for civil society and non-governmental organisations interested in good food, farming and rural policies for Europe. He is also campaign coordinator on land grabbing with EcoRuralis in Romania.

Finally, it appears, the phenomenon of land grabbing is officially on the European table. On 20th of January, 2014 – UN Year of Family Farming - the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC), decided to draw up an own-initiative opinion on land grabbing in the EU.

After consulting a range of public, private and civil society actors, and conducting a fact-finding mission in Romania, it organised a public hearing on 4 November in Brussels, to discuss the preliminary draft opinion Land grabbing – a wake-up call for Europe and an imminent threat to family farming.

Let's note the milestone here – the hearing was not just about land concentration and ever growing farm sizes, but about land grabbing, where a finite fundamental resource – land - is captured and controlled by corporate interest with strong repercussions over the development and perpetuation of local farming communities and indeed whole countries.

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