Extent of Farmland Grabbing in the EU

17 June 2015
17 June 2015

Sylvia Kay will present the new study by Jenny Franco, Jonathan Peuch and herself to the Committee on Agricultural and Rural Development.

With chair: Mr Czeslaw Adam Siekierski


This study looks at the rise of large-scale land deals, ‘land grabbing’, in the EU. It finds significant evidence that farmland grabbing is underway in the EU today. It discusses a number of the drivers of farmland grabbing in the EU and examines the impacts of farmland grabbing for European food security and food sovereignty, rural employment and vitality, and environmental sustainability. It argues that farmland grabbing, especially when connected to other burning European land issues, calls for a reform of European land governance.

Policy Recommendations introduction

This Chapter draws together the main findings of this study and offers a series of recommendations addressed to policy makers at EU and Member State level to tackle farmland grabbing in Europe today.

These recommendations are informed by an approach which situates farmland grabbing in Europe within longer-term dynamics of structural change: numerous factors intervene in a structural change - and different EU policies influence the land question in Europe, at least indirectly - while policies are immersed within a context.

As such, recommendations to tackle farmland grabbing in Europe are considered from the perspective of four principal EU horizontal frameworks that shape the state of the land in Europe today.

These include:

  • the CAP;
  • EU environmental policies;
  • EU rules governing the internal market;
  • and EU polices regarding territorial development and cohesion.

It is argued that, in the absence of an EU land policy, these horizontal frameworks are creating a de facto EU land framework anchored in a (neo)liberal narrative which considers land above all as a tradable commodity. The Chapter ends with a recommendation to adopt a more holistic approach to land governance in Europe which considers also the political, social, and ecological dimensions to land governance based on the FAO Tenure Guidelines.