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We were at zero point with respect to the next framework period, but we succeeded in making up for the delays. We endeavour to have the new Rural Development Programme ready by the end of this year, said deputy-minister Yavor Gechev


It is possible to extend the moratorium on the purchase of agricultural land by foreigners in theory, but it not realistic to make it work practically. This statement was made by Prime Minister Plamen Oresharski during his traditional meeting with representatives from the citizen and non-government sector at the Council of Ministers. The Prime Minister and the three deputy-ministers of agriculture and food answered for two hours to questions and problems, raised by citizens with respect to agriculture in Bulgaria. Mr. Oresharski explained that the treaty of our country’s accession to the European Union contained а suspension clause on selling land for a period of seven years, which expired at this year-end. Any change in this treaty required ratification by all remaining 27 member-states. “I am not aware of exactly such practice so far – one country revising an article of its accession treaty and all other member-states approving this. We cannot expect that all countries will ratify our potential proposal for extension”, said the Prime Minister. He emphasized that this was a good lesson to learn for all of us as community – always when undertaking commitments, first think on the nature of the commitment, and in this particular case – also on its period of validity. “Besides, it is my opinion that we will not be understood by our partners for the following reason – the moratorium affects natural persons, but not legal entities. All legal entities are entitled to purchase land”, noted further the Prime Minister. He stressed that even before signing the treaty the Bulgarian legislation permitted each local or foreign person to register a company and thus purchase land. “I would have undertaken the necessary steps, if the procedure were an easy one. But if one is 99.9% certain that it is practically impossible to carry it through, it is not worth challenging a treaty under which our country has pursued ratification. It seems to me that we are talking more about psychological fears rather than a real threat or danger for our agricultural lands”, added Prime Minister Oresharski.


In the course of the meeting citizens raised the question about the land relations and in particular about the land consolidation. “We offered some changes in the Restoration of Agricultural Lands and Use Act, where we provide big prerequisites and opportunities for anyone willing to carry out this process of land consolidation to go ahead and do it”, said deputy-minister Burhan Abazov. He pointed out further that a lot of administrative and financial reliefs were being introduced with respect to this process. To the question why the Bulgarian farmers received less and less funds compared to the farmers in the other EU member-states, Mr. Abazov explained that a programme was being developed under which we were to become level with the other member-states. The forecast was that at 2016 we would fall in line with the average payment per area in EU.


“We endeavour to have the new Rural Development Programme ready by the end of this year”, said deputy-minister Yavor Gechev. Writing the programme for the new programming period was all the time coordinated with a working group of 200 specialists and representatives of different organizations related to agriculture. “The first projects under the Rural Development Programme 2014-2020 are due in May“, added Mr. Gechev. He remarked that the young farmers were going to enjoy a special highlight. “We were at zero point with respect to the next framework period, but we succeeded in making up for the delays”, emphasized the deputy-minister. He drew the attention to the support for the small and medium business. “The new Rural Development Programme contains a whole sub-programme for the small farmers”, disclosed Mr. Gechev. He pointed out the importance of crediting the small and medium business, and the combat against the unregulated import. The deputy-minister emphasized the need to promote the Bulgarian products and mentioned also the issue with the quality of the goods and the right of the user to make an informed choice on the market. Mr. Gechev called attention to the development of organic farming and of free range cattle farming.

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