Bulgarian Parliament voted on May 29 to overturn President Roumen Radev’s veto on amendments to the country’s State Property Act, meant to speed up expropriation of land for major infrastructure projects
The motion carried with 143 MPs in favour, none opposed and no abstentions, with little debate on the veto, as the largest opposition group, the socialists, were yet to return to Parliament despite a decision in that sense by the party’s executive council on May 28.
Radev vetoed the bill on May 27, arguing that amendments were liable to slow down construction of “nationally-significant” projects rather than speed them up.
He objected to the provision that envisions that the owners of expropriated properties larger than five hectares would not be compensated financially, but through property swops.
“The bill’s motives does not have any arguments why exactly properties with a total area of more than five hectares are targeted, which gives rise to doubts that this change serves specific interests,” the president said in a statement.
It was doubtful that property swops, as opposed to financial compensation, would speed up infrastructure projects because it included a lengthy valuation process, he said.
Radev also objected to the law’s provision that extended expropriation to cover projects of national importance – a separate category from the national projects currently covered by law. Projects of national importance could be designated as such by acts of Parliament or Government decisions, but the amendments did contain a list of criteria for such projects.
This was the 15th time that Radev exercised his veto power since taking office in January 2017, with Parliament overturning the veto in all but one case, when the provision in question was withdrawn.
(Photo: Clive Leviev-Sawyer)