Help Print this page 
Title and reference
Purchasing property in other EU countries

Summaries of EU legislation: direct access to the main summaries page.
Multilingual display
Text

Purchasing property in other EU countries

SUMMARY OF:

Purchasing real estate in other EU countries (Article 63 and seq. of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU)

SUMMARY

WHAT DO THESE ACTS DO?

These acts set out the laws governing the free movement of capital* in the European Union (EU), including the right to purchase property in another EU country and exceptions to the general principle.

KEY POINTS

The Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) establishes the general principle of the free movement of capital among EU countries as well as between them and non-EU countries. This includes the rights of citizens to purchase property, such as a holiday home or secondary residence.

While free movement applies to all EU countries, at the time of the accession of the new EU countries, certain transitional periods and exceptions were negotiated for the free movement of capital, relating also to the purchase of property and agricultural and forest land in specific countries. These exceptions are set out in a number of protocols to the TFEU and in the Acts of Accession of EU countries.

Specifically:

Protocol No 32 to the Treaty on the European Union (TEU) permits Denmark to maintain existing legislation which restricts the acquisition of second homes by non-nationals;

Protocol No. 6 to the Act of Accession 2003 allows Malta to restrict the acquisition of secondary residences;

Annex XII of the Act of Accession Poland 2003 allows Poland to maintain the rules regarding the acquisition of agricultural land and forests by EU and European Economic Area nationals for 12 years from the date of accession.

Protocol No. 2 to the Act of Accession Finland 1994 allows for specific restrictions regarding the Åland Islands, including e.g. the acquisition of real estate;

Annex V of the Act of Accession Croatia 2011 permits Croatia to maintain certain restrictions on the acquisition of agricultural land by EU and EEA (European Economic Area) nationals for 7 years from the date of accession, with the possibility of a 3-year extension.

BACKGROUND

Free movement of capital

KEY TERM

* Free movement of capital is at the heart of the EU's single market and is one of its ‘4 freedoms’ (in addition to free movement of people, goods and services). It enables citizens and companies to do many investment operations in other EU countries.

ACT

Treaty between the Kingdom of Belgium, the Republic of Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, the Kingdom of Denmark, the Federal Republic of Germany, the Republic of Estonia, Ireland, the Hellenic Republic, the Kingdom of Spain, the French Republic, the Italian Republic, the Republic of Cyprus, the Republic of Latvia, the Republic of Lithuania, the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, the Republic of Hungary, the Republic of Malta, the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the Republic of Austria, the Republic of Poland, the Portuguese Republic, Romania, the Republic of Slovenia, the Slovak Republic, the Republic of Finland, the Kingdom of Sweden, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (Member States of the European Union) and the Republic of Croatia concerning the accession of the Republic of Croatia to the European Union (OJ L 112, 24.4.2012, pp. 6–110)

Treaty between the Kingdom of Belgium, the Czech Republic, the Kingdom of Denmark, the Federal Republic of Germany, the Republic of Estonia, the Hellenic Republic, the Kingdom of Spain, the French Republic, Ireland, the Italian Republic, the Republic of Cyprus, the Republic of Latvia, the Republic of Lithuania, the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, the Republic of Hungary, the Republic of Malta, the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the Republic of Austria, the Republic of Poland, the Portuguese Republic, the Republic of Slovenia, the Slovak Republic, the Republic of Finland, the Kingdom of Sweden, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (Member States of the European Union) and the Republic of Bulgaria and Romania, concerning the accession of the Republic of Bulgaria and Romania to the European Union (OJ L 157, 21.6.2005, pp. 11–393)

Treaty of Accession of the Czech Republic, Estonia, Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Malta, Poland, Slovenia and Slovakia signed in Athens on 16 April 2003 - Annexes V to XIV (OJ L 236, 23.9.2003, pp. 803–924)

Act concerning the conditions of accession of the Czech Republic, the Republic of Estonia, the Republic of Cyprus, the Republic of Latvia, the Republic of Lithuania, the Republic of Hungary, the Republic of Malta, the Republic of Poland, the Republic of Slovenia and the Slovak Republic and the adjustments to the Treaties on which the European Union is founded - Protocol No 6 on the acquisition of secondary residences in Malta (OJ L 236, 23.9.2003, p. 947)

Act concerning the conditions of accession of the Kingdom of Norway, the Republic of Austria, the Republic of Finland and the Kingdom of Sweden and the adjustments to the Treaties on which the European Union is founded - protocol No 2 on the Åland islands (OJ C 241, 29.8.1994, p. 352)

Consolidated version of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union - Protocol (No 32) on the acquisition of property in Denmark (OJ C 326, 26.10.2012, p. 318)

last update 11.01.2016

Top