SOFIA, Bulgaria (AP) — Bulgaria's parliament has approved an extension of the ban on the sale of farm land to foreigners until 2020, defying warnings by the European Union.
Lawmakers on Tuesday voted 171-38 in favor of a motion introduced by the nationalist party Ataka extending the ban by seven years, although Bulgaria had pledged when it joined the EU in 2007 that the ban would be lifted on Jan. 1 next year.
The European Commission has warned Bulgaria that there would be consequences, but has not been specific. Bulgaria's president has the power to veto the legislation, though parliament could override a veto.
The purchase of land is a sensitive issue in the Union's poorest member country, where farm land sells for nearly ten times lower than the EU average.