In this paper, we describe recent developments in the rental market for agricultural land in selected EU member states and candidate countries. The analysis focuses on the importance of the rental market as well as on the evolution of rental prices. It appears that the share of rented land in the total utilised agricultural area varies considerably among member states. In the old member states, the share of rented land ranges between 18% in Ireland and 74% in France, while in the new member states (NMS) it ranges from 17% in Romania to 89% in Slovakia. For the former, different strategies to provide tenure security to tenants can explain differences in the importance of rental markets. Changes in the significance of land rental have also reflected changes in institutions and in economic and political conditions. In the NMS, diverse approaches to land reform have resulted in assorted ownership structures and hence in differences in the share of rented land. Regarding rental prices, governments impose price restrictions on agricultural land rents in some countries, such that large divergences are observed in rental prices between and within member states.
Pavel Ciaian and d’Artis Kancs are working at the European Commission (DG Joint Research Centre); Johan F.M. Swinnen is a Senior Research Fellow at CEPS and Director of the LICOS Centre for Institutions and Economic Performance at KU Leuven; Kristine Van Herck is a PhD Student at the LICOS Centre for Institutions and Economic Performance at KU Leuven; Liesbet Vranken is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, at KU Leuven.