Bulgaria lifts ban on selling farm land

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Associated Press

Posted on January 29, 2014 at 11:32 AM

Updated Wednesday, Jan 29 at 11:36 AM

SOFIA, Bulgaria (AP) — Bulgaria's highest court has overturned parliament's decision to extend a ban on the sale of farm land to EU citizens until 2020, bowing to warnings by the European Commission.

The Constitutional Court on Wednesday ruled that the decision was unconstitutional, thus effectively ending the ban.

Last October, lawmakers had voted to extend the ban by seven years, although Bulgaria had pledged when it joined the EU in 2007 that the ban would be lifted in January 2014. The European Commission warned that this move would have consequences for Bulgaria.

The purchase of land is a sensitive issue in the EU's poorest member country, where farm land sells for nearly a tenth of the EU average.

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