“The changes in the law are neither numerous nor important. They practically follow the same negative patterns used to govern agricultural land relations for the past 10 – 15 years.” The above has been stated in a draft preliminary view by BAALO (the Bulgarian Association of Agricultural Land Owners) regarding the currently proposed Land Act, opened for public discussion until 5 December 2019.
Draft law on agricultural land close-up: annuities, agricultural land consolidation and contracts. An official letter will be sent to the Minister of Agriculture, Ms Desislava Taneva on Monday. Agri. BG was the first to be informed about points of contention within the sector.
The members of the Association are all decidedly not in favour of the Bill and its proposed methods for managing agricultural land relations.
"A number of key statements in the draft Bill are in principle contradiction to the Basic Law. The constitutional rights of over 3.5 million Bulgarians have been violated, those are all Bulgarian citizens who are actually also owners of agricultural land ", says Mr Stayko Staykov, Chairman of BAALO.
Mr Stayko Staykov, "The draft Bill, if adopted as proposed, carries the potential of inflicting irreparable economic damage to Bulgaria."
The Association argues that after the expert working group was assembled at the beginning of 2019 by appointment of the Minister of Agriculture, its members convened only once.
“Following one-off submission of written statements by some representative organisations, the Working Group was prematurely dissolved by another ministerial order. As a result, what is presented for a public discussion is only a draft bill, which does not correspond to any of the tasks entrusted by the decision of the National Assembly of 19 September 2017 ", claim the owners of agricultural land.
Stayko Staykov: "All that the new Bill offers is to incorporate and bring together several laws which are already in force, it does not in any way offer a new method for the development of agricultural land relations."
The Association argues that there is evident inconsistency provoked by the Ministry of Agriculture’s statement reading as follows: "The Bill addresses the arrangements for agricultural land use, for which the main method of regulation is that of power and subordination, typical for administrative law ". BAALO was quick to respond to the above with a stringent comment, "We believe that state interference in such relations should be limited to a minimum and be kept within the framework of its legislative function. The introduction of administrative interventions in these privately governed relationships should be limited to ensuring transparency and public access to information ", explain the members of the Association.
Their current view is limited to the basic principle shortcomings of the Bill in its most essential part – chapters and sections devoted to the use and ownership of agricultural land.
"Indeed, our current position does not differ significantly from the remarks we made to the Ministry of Agriculture on the previously proposed Bill regulating property ownership, agricultural land relations and the protection of farmland, which was also published and opened for public deliberation on 17 December 2018,” recall from BAALO.