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Hungary’s Top Court Axes Controversial Law Amendment On National Parks

Tamás Székely 2015.06.01.

Hungary’s top court has ruled that the recent amendment to the land asset law concerning national parks is unconstitutional. At the same time the part of the law enabling the termination of lease contracts and lease rights for certain land belonging to the National Land Fund is not unconstitutional, the body ruled. The opposition parties, which have been protesting against the amendment, have welcomed the top court’s decision.

The directorates of Hungary’s national parks currently manage some 300,000 hectares of protected land and the bill would have let the National Land Management Fund (NFA) to take over the management of most of these lands. The current leasehold rights were also terminated according to the bill. Parliament approved it with a simple majority at the end of April but President János Áder refused to sign the law and turned to the top court for an opinion.

Hungary’s top court has said today that changing the approval conditions of the law from a supermajority to a simple one had been unconstitutional. It also ruled against the principle that the land fund would prioritise the economic aspects of managing the land as opposed to ensuring they remain protected nature reserves.

Last week  János Áder met his Austrian and Slovenian counterparts at the crossing point of national parks of their three countries. The Hungarian President addressed the meeting on the occasion of the European Day of National Parks and voiced support for protecting the environment as a “shared European value”. Hungary’s János Áder, Austria’s Heinz Fischer and Slovenia’s Borut Pahor agreed that the maintenance of national parks was a task that required special attention and cooperation.

via hungarymatters.hu and MTI photo: magyarnemzetiparkok.hu