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Belgrade looks for way out of SAA commitment on sale of land - Serbia Business

Belgrade looks for way out of SAA commitment on sale of land

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The Serbian National Assembly will on Thursday start a new extraordinary session, whose agenda contains the draft amendments to the Law on Agricultural Land.

These changes aim to limit the right of foreigners to buy arable land in Serbia.

The extraordinary session was convened at the request of the government, which drafted the bill and forwarded it to the Assembly in order to be considered under urgent procedures.

If passed, the amended law will prevent complete liberalization of agricultural land transactions – something envisaged by the Stabilization and Association Agreement (SAA) that Serbia has signed with the EU.

The implementation of relevant SAA provisions was to start on September 1, and would equalize the rights of the citizens of Serbia and those of the EU when it comes to buying agricultural land in this country.

Tanjug said in its report that “other countries managed to secure, during accession negotiations ,multi-year bans on the sale of land to foreigners, even after they joined the EU.”

Under the proposed changes, foreigners could buy up to two hectares of arable land in Serbia – if they meet legal requirements, which include at least ten years of residence in Serbia – in the “unit of self-government” where they wish to buy the land – an agricultural household registered to their name, and ownership of agricultural equipment necessary to cultivate the land.