Slovakia: new rules for acquisition of agricultural land

On 1 May 2014, the transitional period during which Slovakia, following the country’s accession of the EU, was granted an exception for keeping in place legal limitations regarding the acquisition of agricultural land and forests expired. With the passing of this transitional period, Slovakia was obliged to bring its legislation in line with EU laws and abolish restrictions applicable to EU foreigners. The necessary law was adopted, but — largely due to the concerns of the public that foreign nationals and entities will start buying up the country — a new set of limitations was introduced that will likely complicate the acquisition of agricultural land for everyone (both Slovak and foreign entities).

Until 1 June 2014, foreign entities were not entitled to acquire ownership of agricultural land and forests. Nevertheless, these restrictions were easily circumvented, e.g. through the acquisition of shares in a Slovak company owning the land. Based on available statistics, some 30,000 hectares of agricultural land are already in the hands of foreign entities…

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