AM: requirement for purchase of land in Latvia is not discriminating towards EU citizens
The law that provides stricter language requirements for procurement of agriculture land is not discriminatory towards citizens of other European Union member states, says Latvian Agriculture Ministry, commenting on complaints submitted to EC centre for setting conflicts Solvit by foreign businessmen in relation to the requirements imposed by Latvia on privatization of land.
«According to Agriculture Ministry, amendments approved by the Saeima to the Law on Land Privatization in Rural Areas on 8 May 2017, which include strict language requirements, are not discriminatory towards citizens of other EU members,» notes the ministry. The ministry explained that Saeima’s National Economy Committee received proposals from multiple deputies, asking to establish specific Latvian language requirements for procurement of Latvia’s national treasure – agricultural land. Several arguments were voiced in favour of introducing a language skill criterion, including occupational safety.
«Agriculture is a sector characterized by increased production risks associated with occupational safety and accidents, use of appropriate plant protection substances, as well as ensuring healthiness of products,» the ministry reminds.
To reduce risks, it has been decided to establish language requirement to make sure the buyer can understand regulations and laws associated with land ownership in Latvia. On top of that, communication with state and municipal institutions is performed in the state language in accordance with the Constitution of the Republic of Latvia and State Language Law.
European Commission’s Solvit centre received multiple complaints from foreign investors in relation to regulations in Latvia that require stricter language requirements for procurement of agricultural land. All complaints were received from foreign businessmen active in Latvia. Most complaints were about amendments to the Law on Land Privatization in Rural Areas.
Many businessmen said the requirement for Latvian language at least category B limits their freedom to continue business activities in Latvia. Regulations also make it harder to cooperate with local businesses.