The area of Romanian farmland owned by foreigners has increased by more than 10 this year to 709,000 hectares from 635,000 hectares in 2010, said Agriculture Minister Valeriu Tabara this Monday quoted by Mediafax newswire.
According to ministry data, foreigners own 709,000 hectares of farmland in Romania, which represents 8.5 percent of the country’s total farmland.
Of the total area, 24.29 percent belong to Italians, 15.48 percent to Germans, 9.98 percent to Arabs, 8.17 percent to Hungarians, 6.22 percent to Spaniards, 6.13 percent to Austrians and 4.52 percent to Danes.
“The most active buyers of land in Romania are citizens from countries such as Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, Saudi Arabia, and Iran. If last year a hectare of land in advantaged areas in Romania cost EUR 1,500 to EUR 2,500, prices rose to EUR 4,000 to EUR 5,000 this year,” said Tabara.
Romanian authorities have previously voiced concerns regarding farmland acquisitions made by foreigners.
Under Law 312/2005 foreign citizens and companies registered outside Romania will not obtain the right to own land in Romania until seven years after Romania’s EU accession, which is 2014.
But foreign investors can circumvent the legislative restriction on buying agricultural land in Romania by setting up local companies.
Authorities in Bucharest have previously said that they are considering asking the European Commission to prolong the period during which Romania can restrict the purchase of local agricultural land by non-resident foreign citizens beyond 2014, despite the fact that the EC advised both Romania and Bulgaria to ditch the restriction sooner than the end of that year.