Croatian agricultural land must be offered to the state before any attempt to sell it

February 7, 2022 – Croatian farmland must first be offered to the state at market price before being offered for private sale under a new rule governing this process.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, no one will be able to put Croatian agricultural land up for sale to an individual (or anyone else) if he does not first offer it to the state at the market price.

Under a new set of rules, the state gets the right of first refusal when it comes to the sale of Croatian agricultural land, and the final proposal for this amendment to the law was passed by parliament at a session held recently. The new law stipulates that the owner of Croatian agricultural land cannot sell this land to another buyer below the price he asked the state, even if the competent ministry rejects his offer, according to a report by Novi list.

The government has made significant changes to the law to ensure that production is ensured on all available Croatian agricultural land, but this is probably an important motive for the state to be able to obtain the right of first refusal, although this is not explicitly stated in the government’s proposal. The fact that at the beginning of next year the moratorium on the sale of agricultural land to foreigners or citizens of other member states of the European Union (EU) is due to expire.

In its explanation of all of the above, the government stated that the state’s right of first refusal with respect to Croatian agricultural land is “in the interests of the protection of agricultural land as part of particular economic and ecological importance because agricultural land is constitutionally defined as an item of particular economic and ecological importance and [as such] enjoys special protection.”

It remains unclear to what extent these brand new provisions will prevent sales from proceeding as before, and to what extent they will prevent sales altogether, as foreigners, and not just those from other EU member states, are already buying land farms in Croatia by using the ‘loophole’ of establishing companies headquartered in Croatia to do so.

To learn more, see our policy section.

Amalia H. Mercado