Transport minister proposes quicker expropriation

Neither the opposition nor experts knew about the change that is expected to become effective on May 15.

Transport Minister Árpád ÉrsekTransport Minister Árpád Érsek (Source: SITA)

It is very likely that some construction works will be carried out on the plots under the future highways and roads even before the end of the expropriation process.

Such change is part of the amendment to the law on one-off special measures adopted during preparation of the construction of highways and roads, which was approved by the government at its May 10 session.

The parliament is expected to discuss the change in a fast-track proceeding already at its current session. If approved, the amendment will come into force on May 15, the TASR newswire reported.

The amendment introduces the so-called provisional custody, which should enable certain construction works on selected highways and roads even before the expropriation process is over.

“The aim of the provisional custody is to support higher effectiveness and speed of preparing the highway construction in case the expropriation procedure is time demanding and blocked mostly by the owners of the plots and constructions who acquired them in a speculative way before the preparation works began,” explained the Transport Ministry, which authored the change, as quoted by TASR.

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At the same time, the ministry wants to let the owners of plots keep adequate possibilities to protect their own interests.

The amendment should not change the conditions of extradition. Under the new rules, it will be possible to use the right of provisional custody only if the public interest is more important than observing the ownership rights of the person whose plot is expropriated, TASR reported.

The problem however is that neither experts nor the opposition knew about the planned changes. There are certain fears whether the change is at odds with the constitution, the public-service broadcaster RTVS informed.

The amendment probably pertains to the construction of the D4 bypass of Bratislava whose construction is slowed down by the purchase of plots. The state can even be fined for being late, according to RTVS.

Ľubomír Palčák from the Research Institute of Transport opines that the amendment may help in cases where construction is blocked by speculators.

“In my opinion, it is in the public interest, but on the other hand it also interferes in the private rights of individuals,” Palčák told RTVS, adding that the legislators should check whether the proposed change is in compliance with the constitution.

Miroslav Ivan from opposition party Freedom and Solidarity (SaS) doubts the constitutionality of the change, adding he will not support the change.

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