Conference & debate


Access to land for farmers in the EU:

Challenges and solutions in the context of increasing land concentration


When: Wednesday, 7 December 2016, Brussels


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Interpretation in EN, FR, ES, DE and NL




  • 9-12:30: Room VMA3 (European Economic and Social Committee, Rue Van Maerlant 2)
  • 15-17:00: Room A1G3 (European Parliament, Rue Wiertz 60)


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In Europe, land speculation and land concentration are an increasing threat to small and medium sized family farms and new entrants. Soaring land prices make it increasingly difficult for farmers to have access to land. In the meantime, investors are buying up enormous pieces of land, sometimes using legal loopholes. Land is increasingly becoming a globally tradable commodity and an object of financial speculation. Examples such as Scotland and Andalusia, where arable land, pastures and forests are highly concentrated since centuries, show the negative effects for sustainable rural development and societies as a whole.


This event brings together farmers, NGOs, researchers, politicians and regulatory bodies from different European countries to analyse the situation and discuss possible solutions.






Facilitator: Benny Haerlin (author of the study “Land Rush – The Sellout of Europe’s Farmland”)


8:30 Registration – Room VMA3 at the European Economic and Social Committee, Rue Van Maerlant 2


9:00 Opening words


  • Mr Brendan Burns, President of the Section Agriculture, Rural Development and the Environment (NAT) at the European Economic and Social Committee
  • Ms Maria Heubuch, MEP Greens/EFA, Germany


9:15 1st panel – Introduction & analysis of the current situation


Why is European farm land coming under increasing pressure? What does land concentration and management of land by shareholder companies mean for farmers, our society and the environment? What are the advantages of safeguarding small and medium sized family farms with strong local ties?


Opening remarks by Mr Bronis Ropė, MEP Greens/EFA


  • Ms Sylvia Kay, Researcher at the Transnational Institute (TNI), The Netherlands
  • Ms Véronique Rioufol, European coordinator of Terre de Liens, France
  • Mr Attila Miklós Szőcs-Boruss, Romanian Peasant Farmer and member of the Ecoruralis Association (member of ECVC)
  • Mr Helmut Klüter, Institut of geography and geology, University of Greifswald, Germany
  • Mr Thierry de l’Escaille, Secretary General of the European landowners’ organization, Belgium




Final remarks by Mr Florent Marcellesi, MEP Greens/EFA


10:45 Coffee break


11:15 2nd panel – Discussion of possible solutions at national/regional level


Why are some legal frameworks more able to deliver than others to ensure farmers’ access to land? How can they be improved and adapted to new challenges? What are best practices to learn from at the legal and institutional levels?


Opening remarks by Mr Martin Häusling, MEP Greens/EFA


  • Ms Liesbet Vranken, Professor at KU Leuven and expert on land market regulations in Europe, Belgium
  • Mr Jobst Jungehülsing, Head of Division, Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Germany
  • Mr Pete Richie, Director of Nourish Scotland
  • Mr Paul Bonhommeau, La Coopérative d’installation en agriculture paysanne, France
  • Ms Rūta Bičiuvienė, Association of agricultural cooperatives, Lithuania




Final remarks by Ms Molly Scott Cato, MEP Greens/EFA


13:00 Lunch break


14:00 Coffee break – Room A1G3 at the European Parliament, Rue Wiertz 60


15:00 3rd panel – Discussion of possible solutions at EU level


How can the European Union contribute to provide a better framework ensuring farmers’ access to land and to stop unhealthy land concentration?


Opening remarks by Mr José Bové, MEP Greens/EFA


  • Mr Robert Levesque, European Association for rural development institutions (AEIAR), Belgium
  • Mr Mustapha Sinaceur, Director of the FAO Liaison Office with the European Union and Belgium
  • Ms Maria Noichl, MEP and rapporteur for the European Parliament’s report on access to land and concentration of land in the EU, Germany
  • Mr Kaul Nurm, former EESC rapporteur on “Land Grabbing – a wake-up call for Europe”, Estonia
  • Ms Anne-Françoise Melot or Mr Thomas Wiedmann, DG FISMA, EU Commission
  • Mr Adam Payne, farmer and member of the coordinating committee of the European Coordination Via Campesina, England





16:50 Final remarks and conclusion by Mr Bart Staes, MEP Greens/EFA



17:00 End of conference



Conference organisation

The European Economic and Social Committee, the Greens/EFA Group in the European Parliament and the European Coordination Via Campesina are co-organisers of the conference.


The conference will be interpreted in English, German, French, Spanish, Lithuanian and Dutch.


Map of the two conference venues in Brussels


European Economic and Social Committee, Rue Van Maerlant 2
European Parliament, Rue Wiertz 60


Click on the map to enlarge