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The development of infrastructure has been a long-standing priority in Serbia. The National Investment Plan (Serbia 2025) announced by the Serbian Government in December 2019 anticipated the allocation of approximately EUR 14 billion to major development projects to be completed by 2025. Most of the funds are to be allocated for infrastructure projects, including road, rail, air, and water upgrades.

The first rumors of a new infectious disease outbreak in late December 2019 initially only drew modest attention. Soon it became clear that the world had underestimated the spreading pandemic, and, despite Austria’s distance from the region of origin in Asia, by March 2020, the spread of COVID-19 in Europe had become a focus of concern. As hospitals struggled to deal with increasing numbers of coronavirus cases, governments throughout Europe – including Austria – imposed lockdowns that brought society as we know it to an abrupt halt. Overnight, European cities became ghost towns, with shops and services shuttered. Revenues vanished and, through no fault of their own, businesses had to face a difficult financial reality.

Lately, the effects of COVID-19 have caused a significant surge in interest by high net-worth individuals (HNWIs) on global migration, as political stability and safety, access to well-functioning healthcare and education systems, and the ability to maintain a high standard of living became even more important.

The Ministry of Mining and Energy of the Republic of Serbia has recently concluded a period of public debate on a package of amendments to the country’s energy laws. The draft law that has attracted the most attention certainly is the Law on Renewable Energy Sources (the “RES Draft Law”), but there is also a Draft Law on Energy Efficiency and Rational Energy Use (the “EE Draft Law”). Serbia already has laws governing this subject matter– renewable energy sources and rational use of energy – which raises a question about what has influenced the Ministry to propose that these two areas be governed in more detail in the future.

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”).

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