THE AMENDED law on agricultural land ownership will be effective as early as June 1 after President Ivan Gašparovič approved it with his signature on May 27, the SITA newswire reported.

The law was passed in a fast-tracked proceeding, with the aim to 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, according to the TASR newswire.

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.

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.

Source: SITA, TASR

Compiled by Michaela Terenzani from press reports.
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information
presented in its Flash News postings.