Committee says farmland buyers should speak fluent Latvian

The Saeima Economic, Agricultural, Environmental and Regional Policy Committee on May 9 supported a new version of legislation on buying land in rural areas, which stipulates that foreigners who buy farmland in Latvia will have to speak fluent Latvian.

As reported, in April President Raimonds Vejonis returned the law to Saeima for a revision, describing the draft as contradictory because it demanded that people who buy farmland in Latvia have to know just a little Latvian.

The new bill approved by the Saeima committee ups the state language command requirements on foreigners who buy farmland in Latvia. If necessary, they will also have to present their plans for a land plot they have acquired, in Latvian, to municipal officials and answer any questions they may have.

In the original version of the bill, foreigners buying farmland in Latvia were required to have basic command of Latvian (A level), while the new version of the legislation states that foreigners buying farmland in Latvia will have to have better command of the language corresponding to level B2.

Under the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages, a language speaker at a B2 level is considered to be a fluent speaker. 

The legislation also deals with other matters, such as registration of land plots with the Land Register, if they have not been registered already.

If endorsed, the legislation will come into force on July 1, 2017. The bill is to be reviewed in the final reading by Saeima.

At the same time, Latvia has been trumpeting its recent 'start-up law' which allows company registration and certain filing of tax returns in English.

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