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Bulgaria gives up the restrictions on foreigners when buying land

The requirement for five years of settlement is contrary to European legislation, which is why the EC has started a criminal procedure.
Managers refuse to restrict the restrictions on foreigners in the purchase of agricultural land in Bulgaria, as published in the public discussion proposals for amendments to the Law on the ownership and use of agricultural land.

The texts are uploaded to the public consultancy portal Opinions may be submitted by 13 August.

It is recalled that in 2014 a restriction on the acquisition of agricultural land by foreign citizens was introduced. It is a basic requirement for foreigners to prove five years of settling in order to buy fields in Bulgaria. The suggestion of the settlement was the BSP, and its duration increased to 5 years at the request of the political party "Ataka".

The texts were returned by the then president Rosen Plevneliev, but the deputies rejected the veto.

Two years later - in 2016, the European Commission (EC) warned Bulgaria of legislation in the sphere. Apart from us, such a procedure was launched against Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania and Slovakia because of legislative barriers to foreign investment by landers, which contradict one of the EU's fundamental principles - the free movement of capital.

With the proposals for amendments to the Land Ownership and Use of Agricultural Land Act, the government proposes to remove the disputed Article 3c, which regulates the right of ownership of agricultural lands to foreign natural and legal persons.

In the reasoning of the bill, the importers state that the normative act is contrary to the European legislation and creates prerequisites for discrimination and unequal treatment.

The EC procedure against Bulgaria is currently in the "motivated opinion" stage, it is clear from the reasons, Second stage of the criminal proceedings. Bulgaria has formally committed to revoke the text and if it does not fulfill its commitment, Brussels can bring a case against our country in the EU Court. Thus, the minimum one-off sanction for Bulgaria could reach EUR 839 000, and a periodic penalty payment, which is charged for each day of inaction by the convicted state.