Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law

Article

A New Aspect of the Cross-Border Acquisition of Agricultural Lands

The Inícia Case Before the ICSID

Keywords ICSID, investment law, free movement of capital, land tenure, land law
Authors János Ede Szilágyi en Tamás Andréka
Author's information

382468 János Ede Szilágyi
János Ede Szilágyi: professor of law, University of Miskolc; director, Ferenc Mádl Institute of Comparative Law. ORCID ID: 0000-0002-7938-6860.

382471 Tamás Andréka
Tamás Andréka: head of Department for Legislation, Ministry of Agriculture; PhD student, University of Miskolc.
  • Abstract

      The Inícia case concluded at the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) on 13 November 2019 shows that international arbitration institutions may have a significant role even in the EU Member States’ disputes concerning the cross-border acquisition of agricultural lands. Taking the regulation concerning cross-border acquisition into consideration, the last decade was extremely eventful: (i) Following the expiration of transitional periods, the new Member States were obliged to adopt new, EU law-conform national rules concerning the cross-border acquisition of agricultural lands. (ii) The European Commission began to generally and comprehensively assess the national land law of the new Member States. (iii) The FAO issued the Voluntary Guidelines on the ‘Responsible Governance of Tenure of land, fisheries and forests in the context of national food security’ (VGGT), which is the first comprehensive, global instrument on this topic elaborated in the framework of intergovernmental negotiations. (iv) Several legal documents, which can be regarded as soft law, concerning the acquisition of agricultural lands have been issued by certain institutions of the EU; these soft law documents at EU level are as rare as the VGGT at international level. (v) The EU initiated numerous international investment treaties, regulations of which also affect numerous aspects of the cross-border acquisition of agricultural lands. (vi) The Brexit and its effect on the cross-border acquisition of agricultural lands is also an open issue. Taking the above-mentioned development into consideration, the Inícia case may have a significant role in the future of the cross-border transaction among EU Member States and beyond.

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