Possibilities for Lithuanians to engage in agricultural activities will be seriously restricted, the Lithuanian Free Market Institute (LFMI) concluded after analyzing the bill on limitations on the purchase of farm land. The bill is aimed to introduce conditions for farm land acquisition starting from May 2014 as Lithuania opens up its land market to foreign citizens in line with the EU accession obligations adopted in 2004. LFMI states, however, that the law will harm Lithuanian citizens the most.
The bill stipulates that Lithuanian citizens and companies will not be able to purchase farm land unless they have conducted farming activity for at least three years. What is more, citizens will be allowed to buy agricultural land only in the municipality where they are registered or in an adjacent municipality. The bill sets out a 10-year prohibition period for changing the designation of farm land. In addition, agricultural land owners will be required to carry out farming activities that correspond to governmental production quotas for a period of 10 years.
“A person who will not be in a position to utilize his or her land effectively will literally be obliged not to change anything and to keep the land intact. It is inconceivable how anyone could work efficiently under such conditions. Just imagine what would happen if the government imposed requirements on hairdressing saloons regarding the number of clients. If you have fewer clients than 15, they will close the saloon and will impose a fine on top of that. Or if you fail to be a good hairdresser, you will still have to maintain your saloon and will not be allowed to change anything. This sounds absurd, but it is precisely what this law is about,” LFMI’s policy analyst Austėja Kazlauskytė noted.
LFMI has submitted comments and conclusions on the bill to relevant government authorities. LFMI’s policy paper can be found here: http://www.llri.lt/?p=12886 │ LFMI also presents the analysis of „Proporcingumo principo reikšmė ribojant privačių žemės savininkų nuosavybės teises“ (The position paper on the proportionality principle in restricting property rights of private landowners). The position paper can be found here: http://www.llri.lt/?p=12970
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