Matecna: Current Law on Land Acquisition Also Limits Slovak Farmers

Agriculture and Rural Development Minister Gabriela Matecna (photo by TASR)

Bratislava, February 26 (TASR) – The current act on land acquisition is also restrictive for Slovak farmers, Agriculture and Rural Development Minister Gabriela Matecna (a Slovak National Party/SNS nominee) has said in connection with a piece of legislation that the ministry is planning to submit to the parliamentary session in March.

There is, in essence, no way to prevent foreign nationals from purchasing farmland because they can buy such land through Slovak companies, said Matecna. “Purchases of land from individuals will in part be made impossible in order to prevent purely speculative purchases,” she added.

The proposed amendment drops the condition whereby ten years of permanent residence in Slovakia is necessary to acquire farmland. This will do away with the risk of excessive restrictions vis-a-vis access to the ownership of agricultural land, regardless of whether the prospective buyer is from Slovakia or from a fellow EU-member state. “This condition has had a negative impact on the access of active farmers operating in Slovakia to the ownership of agricultural land,” said the ministry.

The measure partly comes in response to infringement proceedings launched by the European Commission against Slovakia on the grounds of its alleged violation of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union by adopting a law in 2014 that is said to restrict the free movement of capital and freedom of establishment.