Parliament Discusses Allowing Non-Citizens to Own Smallholdings in Border Zone ({{commentsTotal}})

Estonia's busiest border checkpoint, at the river in Narva
Estonia's busiest border checkpoint, at the river in Narva Source: Photo: Postimees/Scanpix

Parliament will soon again tackle the issue of allowing non-citizens who are permanent residents of Estonia to acquire land near the border, something they are currently barred from doing, reported.

The Social Democrats are meeting with the Minister of the Interior today, but are likely to proceed with the motion.

Currently non-Estonian citizens are allowed to buy only apartments, not land in the case of border the following areas:

- all islands except for the four biggest ones;
- Narva, Narva-Jõesuu and Sillamäe cities, Alajõe, Iisaku, Illuka, Toila and Vaivara municipality
- Meeksi and Piirissaare muncipality;
- Mikitamäe, Orava, Räpina and Värska municipality
- Meremäe, Misso and Vastseliina municipality.

Three years ago, the Center Party and the Social Democrats made a bid to amend the law so that foreign national could buy gardening cooperative plots of 0.2 hectares.

The law reached the third and final reading before the government called the matter for review.

A Ministry of Defense analysis has since been prepared that finds that there is no military security reason for the restriction, and the Center Party has initiated an amendment.

Today's meeting will determine whether the Social Democrats, who are now in the government, will also support the measure.

Social Democratic MP Jaak Allik said that it was "absurd" to think that the border zone would be sold off in 0.2-hectare parcels and that he didn't see a national security risk.