Budapest (MTI) – The European Commission has insisted that non-Hungarian citizens who farm land in Hungary should be able to participate in the auction of farmland starting on Monday, the government office chief said.
Speaking at a regular government press briefing on Thursday, Janos Lazar said the opposition Socialists and radical nationalist Jobbik had reported the Hungarian government to the commission, and in the course of a consultation it had insisted that foreign nationals should also be able to buy land. At the same time, the commission rejected the two opposition parties’ complaint, he said.
The opposition Socialists said they had warned in the past that the government would cite the EU as an excuse for why foreigners would be allowed to buy Hungarian farmland, and Lazar repeatedly denied this.
Socialist deputy leader Zoltan Gogos said in a statement that “contrary to all of Lazar’s claims so far” foreigners will now be given the opportunity to acquire state-owned farmland in Hungary.
Lazar told his weekly press briefing on October 8 that the reason for the state farmland sales scheme was to prevent foreigners buying Hungarian farmland, and he told the October 15 briefing that Hungary must fight against foreigners’ land acquisitions, the statement said.
The Socialists told parliament on October 12 that ruling Fidesz was “planning to commit treason for financial gain” and would allow foreigners buy land “at ten-times the price” and “the difference would be pocketed by Fidesz’s chums”, Gogos said.