Access to land petitions, policy and moving pictures

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Access to land petition heard by European Parliament

On 13 July 2016 the petition we started with ECVC: "Preserving and managing European farmland as our common wealth", was presented at a hearing of the European Parliament’s Committee on Petitions (PETI).

The petition calls for the European Parliament to monitor the land situation and the impact of existing EU policies, such as the CAP and to put forward a Directive on fair and sustainable access to farmland. Read the full petition

It was presented by Marta di Pierro, of ECVC, the European Coordination Via Campesina and Sjoerd Wartena of Terre de liens. You can download their speeches here.

Fifteen Members of the European Parliament were present at the hearing including two of the most active MEPs on farmland issues  - Maria Heubuch (Greens/EFA, Germany) and Maria Noichl (S&D, Germany).

The subsequent discussion represented a real change of discourse with comments accepting that land is an issue to be addressed not just by member states but by the EU as a whole. Ricard Ramon i Sumoy (DG Agriculture and Rural Development) recognised that more is needed in terms of monitoring the land situation, including as part of an assessment of the CAP.

While we heard the usual comments about land being a complex and sensitive issue and subject to economic drivers, we also heard Thomas Wiedmann (DG FISMA - Financial stability and capital markets) acknowledge the special role of land and accepting exceptions to decisions based on public interest and preserving cultural forms of farming.

This is definitely a step forward in taking access to land issues more seriously and we’ll be keeping the pressure on over the coming months. Particularly with the announcement that the European Parliament is currently preparing an own initiative-report (INI) entitled "State of play of farmland concentration in the EU - how to facilitate access to land for farmers?".

Both Maria Heubuch and Maria Noichl expressed strong support and interest for our petition, as well as one PETI member, Italian MEP Eleonora Evi. As a result, the Chair decided to keep our petition open, encouraged collaboration with the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development, in particular around Noichl's own-initiative report, and agreed to send the petition to the Committee on Environment.

We think this is as good as we could get! Huge thanks to our delegation and all the work that got the petition to this stage.

More on this in our September newsletter. Until then, have a great summer.

You can find more reports, events, and projects that are working on access to land in Europe, on our website:
Follow us on Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #accesstoland:

This newsletter is produced as part of an Erasmus+ partnership involving the following organisations:

AIAB Lazio, Italy
EcoRuralis, Romania
Regionalwert AG, Germany
Rurbans – Escola de Pastors de Catalunya, Spain
Soil Association, UK
Terre de liens, France (coordinator)
Terre-en-vue, Belgium
The Real Farming Trust, UK
Xarxa de custodia del territori, Spain

All views expressed in this newsletter are solely those of the authors. Erasmus+ and European Commission are not responsible for any use that may be made of the information contained here.

Who are we?

Access to land network

We are an informal network of European organisations working on issues around access to land for sustainable agro-ecological farming.

We want to raise awareness, build support, knowledge and skills and develop policy recommendations.
EU flags

What are "own initiative (INI) reports"?

Own initiative reports are an important working tool and political instrument for the European Parliament, often paving the way for new legislative proposals. This INI report on land is the first time the EP has taken an official position on land concentration and land grabbing. The first draft is due in early December and we will be working to make sure that rapporteur Maria Noichl (S&D, Germany) includes the petition's requests in the report.

EU policy on land

EU land policy is rather undefined and uncoordinated. While access to land is clearly affected by a range of EU policies and regulations, most member States and EU institutions are reluctant to address this issue. We've compiled a range of links and reports on our website to help you understand this complex area. Read more on policy.

Watch our film

Land for our food - now in English, German, French, Italian, Romanian and Catalan
Learn about land issues across Europe in this road movie about a young farmer's journey to save his farm. Find out more and watch here.
Copyright © 2016 Soil Association (on behalf of the Access to land network), All rights reserved.

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