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Since the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government of the Republic of Serbia has, on several occasions, introduced measures aimed helping businesses maintain liquidity and working capital. These measures have included, among other things, direct subsidies worth a total of EUR 200 million in the form of loans available to entrepreneurs, cooperatives, micro-, small-, and medium-size businesses, state guarantee schemes to encourage banks to extend loans to businesses, and a moratorium on the repayment of loans which lasted until September 30, 2020.

The Serbian Ministry for Mining and Energy started 2021 in a busy fashion, initiating simultaneous public debates on draft amendments to key legislation in the energy and mining sectors. In the mining sector, the Ministry has offered draft amendments to the Mining Act for public hearing. The official reasons given for the reform are said to be the need to create better conditions for the development of mines, simplify administrative procedures, ensure environmental protection, and increase fiscal revenues.

Ukraine’s transport and infrastructure system plays a key role in the country’s economy, particularly with its role in export and trade in the agricultural, industrial, and other sectors. Ukraine is conveniently located on different transport routes. However, it does not fully capitalize on its geographical benefits and does not fulfill its potential as a transit country, as it is not yet well-integrated in international transport networks, lacks modern infrastructure, and has limited market opportunities in certain segments (for example, railway services).

The long-awaited Law of Ukraine “On amendments to the Land Code of Ukraine and other legislative acts to improve the governance of land relations and their deregulation” No. 1423-IX (“Law”) entered into force (save for certain provisions).

The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Economy of North Macedonia (“Ministry”) recently pointed out that 577,662 ha are classified as arable land in North Macedonia, while 41% of this land is state-owned. It also noted that the current applicable Law on Sale of State – Owned Agricultural Land (“Law”) has many ambiguities and systemic weaknesses, which prevent its full implementation.

The global pandemic has impacted all markets, with subsequent ramifications for M&A. Investors are now seeking greater protection against general lock-downs and supply-chain disruptions, while governments aim to protect critical supplies and services by imposing new regulations on foreign investment in crucial or strategic industries.

In line with the Law No. 7262 on Preventing the Proliferation of Financing Weapons of Mass Destruction (“Law No. 7262”), some of the provisions stipulated under the Turkish Commercial Code No. 6102 (“TCC”) were amended. As per the amendments made by the Law No. 7262, new notification requirement was introduced. In line with the amendments, the holders of the bearer share certificates in a joint stock company and the information regarding the shares have to be notified the Central Registry Agency (“CRA”).

Shortly after the Hungarian Competition Authority’s (“HCA”) notice related to fines in antitrust cases came into force on January 1, 2021, the HCA issued an amendment, which came into force on April 22, 2021 (the amended notice being the “New Notice”). The New Notice seems to strengthen the wide derogated powers of the HCA in antitrust cases and may lead to higher fines. However, companies may be able to reduce fine amounts by offering compensating remedies.

The Regulation on Remote Identification Methods to be used by Banks and the Establishment of Contractual Relationships in Electronic Media (“Regulation”) was published in the Official Gazette dated April 1, 2021 and numbered 31441 and entered into force after one month as of its publication. The Regulation was prepared based on the Draft Communiqué on Remote Identification Methods to be used by Banks, which was published by the Banking Regulatory and Supervisory Authority ("BRSA") as presented to the public opinion. 

On September 10, 2020, Advocate General Maciej Szpunar delivered his Opinion in Case C‑392/19 VG Bild-Kunst v Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz, where a request for a preliminary ruling was lodged with the Court of Justice of the European Union (“CJEU” / “Court”) on May 21, 2019. In one of our previous articles, we have analysed the opinion of the Advocate General Maciej Szpunar, mentioning that it will be interesting to see whether the CJEU will follow the reasoning of the Advocate General or whether it will stay faithful to the principles already established in its previous jurisprudence.

On 27 April 2021 the Hungarian Parliament adopted a new legislation on the Supervisory Authority for Regulated Services, which will in the future supervise the judicial enforcement body, the liquidators and perform official tasks related to the retail sale of tobacco products and the organization of gambling. The new laws will enter into force on 1 October 2021. The purpose of the law is to strengthen the consumer protection, official control and supervision powers in relation to certain exclusive economic activities of the state.

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