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9th March, 2018

Gov’t committed to protecting farmland

The cabinet is committed to protecting Hungarian farmland so that it shall remain in Hungarians’ hands, Prime Minister’s Office head János Lázár said on Thursday at a press conference in reaction to a ruling earlier this week by the Court of Justice of the EU.

The EU court ruled that Hungarian legislation cancelling land use contracts in 2013 for others than relatives of Hungarian land owners was unlawful. The Hungarian government wanted to cancel hidden land purchases with the move before a moratorium for EU citizens on the purchase of farmland ended in 2014.

“We have lost a battle here,” the court ruling will be observed, but the prime minister has instructed the agriculture minister to prevent “by any legislative means possible that foreign individuals, or companies, could get access to Hungarian farmland through land use rights,” Lázár said.

Foreigners affected by the court ruling will mostly be seeking compensation and the restoration of the former ownership relations is not a threat, he added.

In 2010, some 600,000 hectares of farmland were in jeopardy. The laws passed since then have protected the farm land for eight years, Lázár said.

The governing parties are the only authentic political force capable of bringing such protection about, Lázár added.

Sources regularly consulted, with abbreviations used in text: Népszabadság (N); Magyar Hírlap (MH); Világgazdaság (VG); Napi Gazdaság (NG); Magyar Nemzet (MN); Népszava (Nsz); Kossuth Rádió news (KR); nightly TV news (TV).

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