Budapest, May 26 (MTI) – The European Commission on Thursday said it stepped up an infringement procedure against Hungary for restrictions on farmland.
“Hungary has a very restrictive system which imposes a complete ban on the acquisition of land by legal entities and an obligation on the buyer to farm the land himself,” the Commission said.
Rules on farmland purchases “must be proportionate and cannot be discriminatory towards other EU citizens” if they are to comply with EU law, it added.
The EC formally requested that Hungary amend legislation on the restrictions in a “reasoned opinion”, marking the second step in an infringement procedure.
The procedure was launched a little more than a year ago.
If Hungary fails to comply within two months, the EC may refer Hungary to the EU’s Court of Justice.
The EC said on Thursday that it also sent reasoned opinions on similar restrictions on the sale of farmland to Bulgaria, Latvia, Lithuania and Slovakia.
Speaking at a regular press briefing, government office chief János Lázár said Hungary’s and Brussels’ view on the issue are far apart. Hungarian lawmakers have decided that foreigners and companies may not buy farmland in Hungary, he explained, adding that there would be a “big fight” over the matter.