With the amendments to the law “On Land Privatization in Rural Areas”, it is planned to abolish the requirement to certify the knowledge of the national language for buyers of agricultural land who are citizens of the European Union, the European Economic Area and the Swiss Confederation.
The draft law “Amendments to the Law “On Privatization of Land in Rural Areas”” was submitted to the Saeima Economy, Agrarian, Environmental and Regional Policy Commission on September 7.
The annotation of the draft law indicates that the purpose of the changes is to improve the legal regulation of agricultural land transactions in order to promote efficient, rational and sustainable use of agricultural land, as well as by supplementing circle of subjects with the right of first refusal on agricultural land.
EU Court of Human Rights: the requirement of the law is discriminatory and restricts free enterprise
The legal regulation of agricultural land or agricultural land transactions is included in the sixth chapter of the Law. One of the requirements set forth in the Law for the purchase of agricultural land is a condition for citizens of other European Union member states, citizens of the European Economic Area and the Swiss Confederation, as well as the owner or owners of capital shares (shares) of legal entities, which together represent more than half of the voting capital in the company, and all persons who have the right to represent the society, if they are citizens of the mentioned countries, for the fact that they must have received a Union citizen registration certificate and a document on the knowledge of the national language at least in accordance with level B 2nd grade.
With the judgment of the European Court of Justice of June 11, 2020 in case C-206/19 KOB, it was recognized that the legal regulation of the Latvian agricultural land market regarding the obligation imposed on the owners of capital shares of foreign legal entities to know the national language and the established requirement to register in Latvia as residents of Latvia contradicts with Directive 2006/123/EC of the European Parliament and the Council of 12 December 2006 on services in the internal market.
The legal framework of the law has been recognized as discriminatory and restrictive of free enterprise.
In accordance with this, the requirement that the above-mentioned foreign land buyers need an EU citizen registration certificate and a document on the knowledge of the national language at least according to level B 2nd grade is excluded from the law.
The draft law was adopted in the first reading in the Saeima on October 12, and it is possible to submit proposals until October 26.
Information source: lvportals.lv, The Saeima of the Republic of Latvia and the Cabinet of Ministers