On Wednesday, the Chamber of Deputies approved the Horticultural Act, which aims primarily to regulate the position and public benefit of the horticultural movement in the Czech legal system. The law regulates, for example, gardening settlements or the conditions of land lease. The previous three attempts to enforce such a law were unsuccessful. A group of thirty deputies from the ANO, ČSSD, KSČM, SPD, STAN and KDU-ČSL clubs succeeded with the current proposal. They argue, among other things, that a similar law exists in all neighboring countries. The law will now be discussed by the Senate.
Last year, Prime Minister Andrej Babiš (YES) also urged the law to be passed, saying that deputies should approve the gardening law rather than still address the covid-19 epidemic. According to him, the approval of the law would be a step towards the Czech Republic’s self-sufficiency in growing fruit and vegetables. The government as a whole has taken a neutral position on the proposal.
“Tradition, mass, usefulness express the essence of gardening activities,” said Adam Kalous (YES) on behalf of the submitter. He objected to claims that gardeners could function without the law. “Gardeners need protection and a clear definition of the public interest,” he said. According to him, it is also a symbolic expression of their support.
But the law also has its opponents. For example, Dominik Feri (TOP 09) considers it completely useless and, according to him, the best proof will be when the deputies return to him in a few years and evaluate its functioning. “This is a superfluous law, we do not need it,” said former Minister of Agriculture Petr Bendl (ODS). “Do you really think we have to regulate every human activity by law?” asked Bendl’s party colleague Ivan Adamec. “We’re breaking into something that runs on its own,” he added.
It will be possible for the gardening association to lease the land for gardening activities only for a definite period of time, at least for two years. If the lessor is a state or a municipality, the shortest possible lease term will be ten years.
Horticultural activity will generally mean a public benefit activity focused on the cultivation of fruit, vegetables, flowers, useful or ornamental plants, their further processing or processing. At the suggestion of the Committee on Agriculture, MEPs deleted the words from the proposal that it should be an activity primarily for one’s own needs and the needs of their households. The deputies thus complied with the government’s objection, which pointed out that it could hardly be considered a public benefit activity that primarily serves to satisfy its own needs and not the wider needs of the public.
According to the approved version of the law, gardening activities also have an educational and aesthetic aspect for forming a relationship with the nature of the young generation. It also contributes to the protection of nature, the environment and the diversity of the landscape.
At the proposal of Pavel Kováčik (KSČM), the deputies supplemented the Act with a paragraph regulating the cultural values of gardening activities and their preservation. It is to establish that the traditional cultivation of non-native plant species in the Czech Republic, which it specifies, is part of the lifestyle of growers and has an undeniable societal significance.
According to the originally submitted proposal, the Office for Representation of the State in Property Matters, the State Land Office and municipalities should have taken into account the fact that gardening is a public benefit activity when negotiating a lease. However, the Parliamentary Institute has previously pointed out that this regulation is incompatible with EU law. MEPs therefore dropped the issue.
Source: Tyden.cz by www.tyden.cz.
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