‘Land Grabbing’ in Romania and Interlinkages with the Euroskeptic Populist Narrative

Suzanne Verhoog*, Mihnea S. Stoica

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book / Report / Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

The upward land grabbing trend in Eastern Europe has remained understudied, as well as its strong interlinkages with political narratives - more specifically with the ones proposed by Euroskepticism and populism. The current paper looks at how land grabbing has emerged as a topic that fits the Euroskeptic populist discourse in Romania, despite the high levels of trust in the European Union that has characterized the country ever since its EU accession in 2007. European integration was perceived by small landowners as an opportunity to prosper, but vulnerabilities such as obsolete agricultural technologies and lack of know-how in applying for European funding have hampered their plans. Our paper suggests that the populist discourse that emerged in Romania used such popular dissatisfaction to undermine the benefits of European integration and the main ”threat” that this discourse pointed at was the ”foreigner” – framed as an individual or company that used their financial power to buy large portions of land in Romania in the detriment of the country’s citizens, while in reality apart from the ‘foreigner’ paradigm; research reveals that oligarchs and national (state) elites are as deeply involved in the land grabbing discourse in Romania as foreigners. We finally argue that the concept of authoritarian populism can theoretically help to rethink and reframe the post-communist land grabbing discourse towards more inclusive emancipatory politics with a specific focus on the needs of rural communities.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCommunicating European Union
EditorsMihnea S. STOICA, Andreea VOINA, Ioan HOSU
Place of PublicationCluj, Romania
PublisherAccent
Pages18-40
Number of pages23
ISBN (Print)978-606-561-204-4
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2020

Keywords

  • land grabbing
  • populism
  • Euroskepticism
  • Agrigarian reform
  • Post-socialist elites
  • brokers
  • Romania
  • land governance
  • Eastern Europe
  • Authoritarian populism
  • intermediaries

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  • Cite this

    Verhoog, S., & Stoica, M. S. (2020). ‘Land Grabbing’ in Romania and Interlinkages with the Euroskeptic Populist Narrative. In M. S. STOICA, A. VOINA, & I. HOSU (Eds.), Communicating European Union (pp. 18-40). Cluj, Romania: Accent.