Parliament approves changes to expropriation

Some opposition MPs call the amendments for expropriating land unconstitutional.

(Source: TASR)

It will now be possible to carry out certain construction works on the plots under highways and express double-carriageways even before the expropriation proceeding is over. This stems from the amendment to the law on one-off special measures adopted during the preparation of construction of certain highways and roads approved by the parliament in the fast-track proceeding on May 16.

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The change should make the process of approving and constructing certain highways and express double-carriageways more effective, according to its author, Transport Minister Árpád Érsek (Most-Híd). The opposition however warns that the changes may be unconstitutional, the TASR newswire reported.

The change still has to be signed by the president. It is not now clear whether he will do so, the Denník N daily wrote.

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

Read also: Transport minister proposes quicker expropriation Read more 

“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, as quoted by TASR.

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

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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.

It is assumed that the amendment was adopted so quickly to avoid problems with the construction of the Bratislava ring road project.

Érsek told the MPs that the construction of some crucial parts of the project is blocked by the last owners who are difficult to be persuaded into selling the plots. Since the state has already signed an agreement worth nearly €2 billion to build the ring road, it may be fined by the concessionaire for late delivery of the plots, Denník N wrote.

The minister opines that speculators block sales in order to earn as much as possible from it.

Read also: Minister: Highway from Bratislava to Košice might be completed by 2025 Read more 

The opposition was, however, critical of the proposal. Non-affiliated MP Zsolt Simon said that if the state does not want to motivate speculators to purchase the plots, it should not pay too much for it and adopt new rules for putting value on such lands, Denník N wrote.

Other opposition MPs meanwhile called on the state to start publishing the agreements on purchasing the plots in question. One such proposal was submitted by non-affiliated MP Miroslav Beblavý. He failed to persuade the coalition deputies to support it however, Denník N reported.

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