Article 45 - Freedom of movement and of residence
Key facts of the case:
Reference for a preliminary ruling — Articles 49 and 63 TFEU — Freedom of establishment and the free movement of capital — Directive 2006/123/EC — Acquisition of agricultural land in Latvia for the purpose of use — System of prior authorisation for legal persons — Specific conditions applying only to legal persons controlled or represented by nationals of another Member State — Requirements for residence and knowledge of the official language of the Republic of Latvia — Direct discrimination on grounds of nationality.
Outcome of the case:
On those grounds, the Court (Sixth Chamber) hereby rules:
Articles 9, 10 and 14 of Directive 2006/123/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 December 2006 on services in the internal market must be interpreted as precluding legislation of a Member State which makes the right for a legal person to acquire agricultural land located in the territory of that Member State –– in cases where the member or members who together represent more than half of the voting rights in the company, and all persons who are entitled to represent that company, are nationals of other Member States –– conditional upon, first, submitting a certificate of registration of those members or representatives as residents of that Member State and, second, a document demonstrating that they have a knowledge of the official language of that Member State corresponding to a level which enables them to at least converse on everyday subjects and on professional matters.
14) In support of its appeal against that decision before the referring court, the administratīvā rajona tiesa, Rīgas tiesu nams (District Administrative Court, Riga Section, Latvia), KOB submits that the Latvian legislation governing the conditions for approval of the acquisition of agricultural land is contrary to the prohibition of discrimination on grounds of nationality and to the fundamental freedoms enshrined in Articles 18, 49 and 63 TFEU and Article 45 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union.