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When Multi-­level Governance Hits the Ground: European Nature Protection and Land-­use Change in Vrancea and Galicia


Mantescu,  Liviu
International Max Planck Research School on the Social and Political Constitution of the Economy, MPI for the Study of Societies, Max Planck Society;

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Mantescu, L. (2012). When Multi-­level Governance Hits the Ground: European Nature Protection and Land-­use Change in Vrancea and Galicia. PhD Thesis, University of Cologne, Cologne.

Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-000F-D29F-8
The project is situated at the convergence of two vast themes of academic inquiry: nature and property. It deals with environmental degradation and social conflicts from a historical perspective and shows how the latest transnational attempts for nature protection, the EU’s program Natura 2000, are perceived by local people in Galicia, Spain, and Vrancea, Romania, as new means of land dispossession. Natura 2000 is a multi-level mode of governance within the EU’s governance framework. Galicia and Vrancea are characterized by the survival of peculiar, yet similar, forms of common property regimes for forests and pastures. For historical reasons, the land of these villages is outside the market realm: it can neither be sold nor inherited according to modern private property principles. This image of waste attracted external attempts to break into the village commons, and memories of dispossession span over more than a century in the local discourse. Nowadays, these memories convert into a linchpin strategy to defend traditional land use in the face of EU policies for nature protection. This is yet another process within the political dynamics of property where rights over land and natural resources are claimed and contested by the actors involved: village communities, regional governments, transnational companies, national states, supra-national political entities. Therefore, the question this study builds upon is: How do the local actors involved in the EU’s multi-level governance regime for nature protection use the open policy-making chess board as a resource for attaining their aims?