President tells MPs to revise bill on buying farmland

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Latvia's President Raimonds Vejonis on March 31 did not promulgate the bill concerning requirements to buyers of agricultural land in Latvia and has sent the bill back to the Saeima for revision, the Latvian president's office said.

Vejonis found that some of the provisions were in contradiction with each other as well as with other laws which gives rise to doubts about effective implementation of the new rules.

"We should avoid creating a situation in which vague requirements would complicate the chances of our agriculturalists to buy more land and expand their business," the Latvian president said.

The president noted that, when adopting the legislative amendments, the parliament had taken into account the objections by the European Commission regarding the requirement for eligible buyers of agricultural land to have appropriate education or experience in the farming business.

However, there is a contradiction between the requirement to the potential buyer to have at least minimal Latvian language proficiency and another requirement which says eligible buyers must be able to explain their plans for use of land and answer questions by the members of the municipal committee in the state language which clearly cannot be done by someone, who has only minimal Latvian language skills.

Vejonis also pointed out several other vague or flawed provisions in the bill that was passed by the parliament in the final reading on March 23 this year.

The amendments to the Law on Privatization of Land in Rural Areas were adopted with the intention to create privileges for Latvian farmers willing to buy more agriculture land while banning sale of agricultural land in Latvia to foreigners, who do not reside here permanently.

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