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Working for Land Rights in Romania

By Attila Szocs, Eco Ruralis Land Rights Campaigner Land grabbing in Romania is reaching a blatant level but mobilisation against it is scaling up too. On the 26-27th of September, 2015, Eco Ruralis hosted in Cluj Napoca the first meeting of a newly established Working Group on the Right to Land. During the gathering, Eco Ruralis members and supporters debated important land related problems faced by peasants and agroecological food producers: lack of transparency behind large land acquisitions, equitable access to land for young and future farmers and land policies oriented towards land concentration. The meeting specified future collaboration by the group in order to intervene on the issue of land grabbing and fair access to land in Romania. Defining land grabbing generated an interesting debate inside the group. Several criteria were raised, taking into consideration quantitative and qualitative indicators of what is a land grab. First of all, we noted the duality of the Romanian countryside, where more than half of the available lands are cultivated by small farmers, while the other part is controlled by companies and other actors. This obviously opens up […]

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Visiting the Vine and Wine World of Moldova

Written By:  Derek Freitas, Eco Ruralis Staff The Republic of Moldova is the 22nd largest wine-producing country in the world. For such a small country, it certainly grows a lot of grapes. Agritourism is on the rise and so is the market for its wines all across Europe but are there enough economic opportunities for small-scale producers? And how does the export focus of the national government affect the genetic diversity of grapes? Recently, Eco Ruralis staff made a visit to find out more. The land of the Republic of Moldova has a long and rich history of grape and wine production dating back to the Dacian times. The first grape vines were here around 7,000 BCE and for 5,000 years wine has been made – so, they are pretty good at it! Generations and generations of people living in the countryside have produced wine for family consumption and local trade which is still the case today. There are 4 historical wine regions: Valul lui Traian (south west), Stefan Voda (south east), Codru (central), and […]

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EU Trade Secrets Directive Threatens Investigative Media

Written by: Claire Bernardin, Land Rights intern at Eco Ruralis; additional content via Corporate Europe Observatory. “Soon, journalists and their sources could be sued by companies if they reveal what these companies want to keep secret. Unless we react to defend the investigative work of journalists and, by extension, the right for citizen to be informed. Under the alibi of the fight against industrial espionage, the European Parliament is preparing a new massive weapon against journalism,”trade secrets”, whose definition allows not less then an unprecedented censorship in Europe.” That’s according to the petition launched by Elise Lucet, a French investigative journalist, which is  approaching half a million signatures. It all started on November 28th 2013 when the Commission submitted a draft proposal aiming to homogenise the definition of a trade secret throughout the EU. This would fight economic and industrial espionage by protecting companies against the unlawful acquisition, use and disclosure of the aforementioned trade secrets, thus enhancing competitiveness in the Union. However, voices arose among civil society to denounce the dangerous vagueness of the bill. […]

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Hands on the Land for Food Sovereignty

Written By:  Derek Freitas – Food Chains Campaign Coordinator for Eco Ruralis In February of this year, a new international alliance of 16 civil society organizations around Europe joined forces to tackle issues related to climate and agroecology, markets and food chains, land and water, seeds and bioeconomy. The alliance, Hands on the Land for Food Sovereignty (HOTL 4 FS), has launched its campaign and will work on these issues for the next 3 years. Eco Ruralis, European Coordination Via Campesina (ECVC) and the Transnational Institute (TNI) are among the partners which includes “peasants and social movements, development and environmental NGOs, human rights organisations and research activists. We aim to raise awareness on the use and governance of land, water and other natural resources and its effects on the realisation of the right to food and food sovereignty. Through evidence-based research and material, public events and meetings, trainings, education and advocacy work, the campaign engages EU citizens, media, journalists, NGO practitioners, social activists, educators, students, politicians, policy and decision makers to take action for food […]