A common European space? National identity, foreign land ownership and EU enlargement

the Polish and Czech cases

Steve Wood*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Citations (Scopus)


In central and eastern Europe, symbiosis between particular ethnic-cultural nations and territorial areas is understood as corresponding to a natural and moral order. European Union enlargement challenge this mindset by legally transforming 'national territory' into 'supranational' real property or even opening the possibility of restitution claims by 'foreigners'. In the Polish and Czech cases this is highly contentious, principally due to the prospect of Germans and/or Austrians obtaining land. Rather than representing prosaic exchange among neutral economic agents the issue is embroiled in a complex of political and emotive influences, with historical roots that run deeper than the communist era. Realisation of a common European legal order is accompanied and to some extent hindered by misgivings about a liberal space of free access, unrestricted capital movement and no discrimination on grounds of nationality.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)588-607
Number of pages20
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2004
Externally publishedYes

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