Hungary to settle with Austrian farmers over land use

BUDAPEST, Hungary – Hungary says it is ready to compensate Austrian farmers for stripping them of the right to use farmland across the border in Hungary.

Janos Lazar, Prime Minister Victor Orban’s chief of staff, said Thursday, however, that Hungary will stick to its policy of banning foreigners from acquiring farmland.

His comments came in response to a decision from the European Commission, which referred Hungary to the EU Court of Justice after the country failed to bring its rules on the issue in line with EU law.

According to Lazar, the matter affects some 200 Austrian farmers who had long-term contracts to use Hungarian agricultural land but lost the rights within a few months after Hungary’s 2014 land law came into effect.