Evaluation of Member State Provisions Addressing Land Policy and Restitution by the European Commission
The scope of action of EU Member States’ land policies lies at the intersection of positive and negative integration. Therefore, if a Member State restricts the ownership and use of agricultural land, it implies both the legitimate restriction of fundamental freedoms and that it achieves the targets listed under the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) on improving the quality of living for farmers in keeping with the case law of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU). Despite this, it is worrisome that the EU’s control over negative integration does not allow Member States to create sustainable regulations. In contrast, the EU law leaves it entirely to the Member States to introduce restitution measures vis-à-vis the properties that were confiscated before their accession. The EU’s control prohibits direct discrimination against the citizens of other Member States. Under certain circumstances, according to the European Commission, the general principles of EU law and the provisions of the Charter can help individuals enforce restitution provisions. Bearing this in mind, we analysed the practice of the European Commission, its statements, and procedures against Member States, given that these are based on professional and/or political considerations. We examine the practice of the Commission and the CJEU vis-à-vis a Hungarian legislation on the so-called ‘zsebszerződések’. We also propose recommendations.