The European Commissioner for Agriculture, Dacian Ciolos advises Romanian authorities to set up a land loan programme for local farmers, which would allow Romania to be better prepared for the moment when foreigners will be allowed to buy agricultural land without any restriction, on January 1, 2014. “It is possible to do something in order to help Romanian producers, in parallel with the debate on the foreigners’ access to land. It is not enough to prevent some from buying, if you don’t help your own people doing it,” Ciolos said Tuesday on Digi 24 TV. According to data released by the Ministry of Agriculture, foreigners control 700,000 hectares of farmland in Romania, accounting for nearly 9 pc of the total arable land. This surface is expected to increase after January 1, 2014, when the last barriers against the purchase of agricultural land by foreigners will be lifted. Several Romanian officials demanded that the interdiction to sell farmland to foreigners is kept in place even after 2014, but the minister of European Affairs, Leonard Orban said that such a demand cannot be satisfied. “Romania does not have this provision in its accession treaty, and the only formula that would allow an extension is modifying the treaty. This process however can last 2-3 years, and only if European institutions and all member states agree to it. However, I believe that it is a request which cannot be met,” Orban said.