RAS reports to the European Parliament on Property Restitution in the Balkans


The biggest ignored policy issue in transition countries – the
post-Communist restitution of property, be it in the form of land,
buildings, forests or financial compensation – was analyzed by the Romanian Academic Society (SAR) on a contract with the European.

Parliament. Mobilizing our in-house expertise and employing a network of
collaborators in each of the target countries, we have produced a report
outlining the key options and the accuracy of the restitution process in
Romania and five other SEE countries: Bulgaria, Albania,
Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia and Serbia.

You are welcome to download from the link below one of the few analytic
materials on this crucial post-Communist subject. While a vast comparative
literature exists on privatization, the emerging party systems or other
aspects of governance in Eastern Europe, surprisingly little has been
written on exactly what and how was returned to former owners or their
successors, after the collapse of the Communist regime, out of the
properties nationalized in late ‘40s and early ‘50s.

Which is a paradox, given the immense resources at stake: it is estimated
that in every country considered, the volume of property that could in
principle be claimed back amounted to at least one year’s GDP. How the
governments dealt with this huge and painful social problem differed a lot
from country to country: some opted for fast resolution, some let the
issue drag for decades; some gave back property in kind, some preferred
compensation in equivalent. Overall, a fascinating picture involving
legal, economic and moral issues.

SAR’s report was presented in a public hearing before the Petitions
Committee of the European Parliament, the beneficiary of the study, on May
4, 2010, and was well received by MPs and the EU Commission’s
representatives. The session was broadcast live in Romania by Antena 3 and
broadly reflected in the Brussels-based media.

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