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4/14/16

"Is Poland's Government starting to lose it's marbles ?": Polish farmland bill may breach EU law - by Lukasz Lipinski

The Polish government, which is already at loggerheads with EU institutions over its constitutional reforms, could also be in trouble over a farmland bill which was passed in parliament on Thursday (14 April).

The new rules to regulate buying and selling of land because an exemption from European law granted when Poland joined the EU in 2004 ends on 1 May.

Under the temporary rule agreed to protect Poland's farmland and forests market, citizens of other EU states needed to obtain permission from the interior minister to make a purchase.

Warsaw argued that the rule was necessary because land in eastern EU states was much cheaper than in western Europe. Similar measures were taken by the other eastern EU states.

As a result, there were very few transactions involving foreigners. Last year they bought only 243 hectares of farmland and 159 hectares of forests in Poland.

It is easier, however, to take control of land through companies. According to the interior ministry, foreigners gained possession of 9,700 hectares that way. It is still not much, as the state itself sold a total of 75,000 hectares in 2015.

With the transition period coming to an end, the right-wing government wants to ensure that farmland stays in the Polish hands. However, according to EU law it cannot simply discriminate against the citizens of the other member states.
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Read more: Polish farmland bill may breach EU law

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