CONDITIONS for selling and donating agricultural land will be stricter in Slovakia after parliament passed a new law on agricultural land ownership on May 16
The law, passed in a fast-tracked proceeding, is scheduled to become effective as of June 1, the TASR newswire reported. The Agriculture Ministry, which authored the law, believes it will help protect agricultural land in Slovakia and prevent speculative land purchases.

Under the new rules, people who have run a business or worked in the agricultural sector for at least three years will be given priority to purchase land in Slovakia. Top priority will go to cooperative farms, agro-companies and small farmers in the municipality where the land offered for sale is located. If none of these parties are interested, the land will be offered to agricultural interests in the neighbouring municipalities, and after that, people from other regions. Agricultural land will be offered for sale to foreign entities only if no Slovak-based company active in agriculture shows interest in buying it, TASR wrote.

These limits will not be applied for plots of land under 2,000 square metres, as well as gardens and agricultural plots located within the residential area of the respective municipality.

Persons and companies from countries whose laws prevent Slovak citizens and companies from purchasing land in their home countries will be prevented from purchasing land in Slovakia. This will not be applied to people from EU and EEA countries.

The opposition has criticised the new law and several opposition MPs claimed during the debate in parliament that it gives an advantage to big companies and financial sharks, and that it is unconstitutional. They have already announced that it might end up at the Constitutional Court, TASR wrote.