Romania: The president approved agricultural land sale law

, SEE Energy News

Despite the warnings of hydrocarbon and renewable energy companies, Romanian President Klaus Iohannis approved the controversial law on the sale of agricultural land. This law will limit investments in hydrocarbon and renewable energy sectors.

After the Parliament passed the law in June, the Romanian Wind Energy Association (RWEA), the Employers Organization of the Producers of Energy from Renewable Sources in Romania (PATRES) and the Romanian Association of Oil Exploration and Production Companies (ROPEPCA), all voiced their concerns that the law could block new investments in oil and gas and renewables sectors, pleading to lawmakers to make last minute amendments.

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. According to aforementioned associations, 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.