EU Launches Proceeding on Agricultural Land Ownership Laws in Bulgaria
The European Commission took a decision Thursday on demanding a clarification on the laws regarding the acquisition of agricultural lands passed in Bulgaria, Hungary, Lithunia and Slovakia.
As announced by the commisison's press office, several of the directives in the laws can be considered as hindrances to the free movement of capital within the borders of the EU. All restrictions to agricultural land ownership need to be substantiated and justified so that no doubt is left on possible discrimination against foreign investors.
The commission also noted that all countries have the righ to determine their own laws, but they also need to comply with the union's anti-discrimination policies.
Some of the dubious requirements listed in the Bulgarian legislation involve requirement for residence in the country, restrictions regarding people with no professional qualification, as well as a requirement for the preliminary approval of sales contracts.
The EU Commission's official announcement letter marks the start of the proceeding, giving countries a two-month deadline to provide information on the case.
The last amendment to the Bulgarian property law states that there will be BGN 100 per decar sanctions on land ownership upon Bulgarians with properties outside of the EU, Investor.bg reminded.
Meanwhile, Bulgaria's former Parliament has voted in favor of the restriction in land ownership by foreigners despite the veto imposed by President Rosen Plevneliev.
According to the current legislation, EU private and company owners are required to have a permanent 5-year residency. Effectively, companies outside the EU and offshore firms are thus not allowed to buy agricultural lands.
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