Romania: ROPEPCA – sale of agricultural land needs law review

, SEE Energy News

The law which changes the conditions of sale and use of agricultural land could block new investments in oil and gas sector- this is considered by the Romanian Association of Oil Exploration and Production Companies (ROPEPCA).

According to ROPEPCA, if the law enters into force, only current farmers with agricultural activity in Romania will be able to buy agricultural land. The new law would make it impossible for a Romanian or a foreign citizen who has no business in agriculture to become a landowner and farmer.

Last week, the Constitutional Court rejected the complaint regarding the unconstitutionality of the adopted law. In these circumstances, ROPEPCA calls for a review of the law in Parliament, so as to remove the impediments to new investments in both agriculture and other sectors of activity.

The adopted law stipulates that, if those who have the right of preemption for the purchase of agricultural land put up for sale by the owner do not exercise their right of preemption, then the land can only be bought by other farmers, Romanian or foreign, with activity in Romania. Thus, this law prohibits all citizens, Romanian and foreign, who are not farmers active in Romania in the last five years to buy agricultural land.

In addition, once purchased, the land should be used only for agricultural activities. Thus, Romanian companies with another object of activity, but which need out-of-town land for their activity, such as oil and gas companies, will not be able to purchase or rent it for oil operations, according to the adopted law.

The new law will completely change the way this right is exercised, making it impossible for the state to exploit the resources for the benefit of the consumer, but it will also deprive the private owner of disposing of the property and possible financial benefits.

According to ROPEPCA, not only oil and gas companies are affected by this law. Any company that does not carry out agricultural activities and wants to invest in agricultural land is in the same situation, including logistics, telecommunications companies, etc.