Bulgaria’s National Assembly voted on April 24 to postpone by five months the imposition of fines on foreign and offshore companies that own agricultural land.
The postponement, from May 1 to October 1, was proposed by Roumen Hristov, an MP for the Reformist Bloc, a centre-right coalition partner in the government.
In an explanatory memorandum attached to the amendment, Hristov said that the change was being proposed because of the risk of foreign investment in agriculture in Bulgaria being discouraged.
The European Commission already has announced an investigation into Bulgaria’s recent law restricting the purchase of agricultural land by foreign entities, saying that it may be in conflict with EU rules on free movement of capital and establishment.
As approved previously by Parliament, the law bans agricultural land ownership by companies that have offshore ownership or ownership by persons resident less than five years in Bulgaria.
The law, which provides for large-scale fines, has been the subject of objections by a range of business associations concerned with its potential negative impact on investment and the economy.
(Photo: Dido Ivanov)