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In this time of economic distress, many countries have suffered. Yet, reports Milos Gledovic, Partner at Samardzic, Oreski & Grbovic, Serbia has proven resilient. “The pandemic has not affected the number of transactions in our market, except in the industries directly affected by anti-COVID measures,” Gledovic says, describing the overall economic situation in Serbia as stable.

The Law on Archive Materials and Archiving Activities (“Official Gazette of the Republic of Serbia”, No. 6/2020, ) (“Law”) started to apply as of 2 February 2021, so after many years Serbia finally regulates the protection of archival material in one place and a comprehensive manner.

In December 2020, the French Data Protection Authority (Commission nationale de l’informatique et des libertés or the “CNIL”) imposed significant fines of EUR 60 million for Google LLC and EUR 40 million for Google Ireland Limited, as well as of EUR 35 million for Amazon Europe Core.

Last month, one of the world’s largest messaging apps, WhatsApp, began notifying its users of the new Privacy Policy that would take effect as of 8 February 2021. The users were notified that they would no longer be able to use the app if they do not accept the new Privacy Policy, as of the effective date.

When Google announced its $2.1 billion merger deal with the smartwatch and fitness-tracker company Fitbit last year (“Deal”), consumer advocacy and anti-trust regulators have expressed concerns over the proposed acquisition. As a consequence, in August last year the European Commission (“EC”) opened an in-depth investigation to assess whether the said merger is in line with the EU Merger Regulation.

On 26 November 2020 the Minister of the Interior and the Minister of Labor, Employment, Veterans and Social Affairs adopted the Rulebook on the unified request for approval, i.e. extension of temporary residence and issuance of a work permit to a foreigner (“Rulebook”), all in accordance with amendments to the Act on Foreigners from 2019 (“Act”).

By adopting the new Company Act on 11 July 2020 (the “Act”), Montenegro made a big leap in the area of Corporate Law, although “big leap” maybe isn’t a phrase strong enough to describe the number of changes the Montenegrin Corporate Law went through, having in mind that the new Company Act is three times more extensive compared to the previous one.

The COVID-19 pandemic hit the Western Balkans right during a period of accelerating economic activity and a promising economic outlook for 2020. The rapid spread of the virus forced the governments of the Western Balkans countries to introduce protective measures, lockdowns, and temporary business shutdowns. These restrictions had a devastating direct economic impact on a wide range of sectors – particularly the hospitality and transport industries – and the measures had many indirect side effects that significantly decreased economic activity.

As of 12 October 2020, the Register of Healthcare Institutions is kept at the Business Registers Agency of the Republic of Serbia (“SBRA”), in accordance with the new Health Care Act, which entered into force on 11 April 2019. This means that health care institutions have the obligation to register in the Register of Health Care Institutions, which is kept at the SBRA as of today. In addition to this register, SBRA will keep a single record of entities in health care, which will contain consolidated data on health care institutions and private practice on the territory of the Republic of Serbia.

On 23 December 2019, the National Assembly adopted the Public Procurement Act (‘’Official Gazette of RS’’ No. 91/2019 – hereinafter the “PP Act”) that started to apply as of 1 July 2020. The PP Act replaced the previous version of the Public Procurement Act and introduced numerous novelties that significantly change the public procurement landscape.

Just as we entered the year of 2020, the Serbian Government enacted the new Regulation on Incentives to Investors for Production of Audio-visual Works in the Republic of Serbia (“Regulation”). The motives for enacting a new Regulation were the encouragement of investments and increasing employment in the field of audiovisual production, as well as the promotion of the potential of the Republic of Serbia in the said field.

On 10 August 2020, the Commissioner for Information of Public Importance and Personal Data Protection (the “Commissioner“) issued an official statement confirming that the recently annulled mechanism for the free transfer of personal data to the United States (better known as the “Privacy Shield Framework”) cannot be considered a lawful basis for the transfer of personal data anymore.

On 16 July 2020, Court of Justice of the European Union (“CJEU”) has rendered a landmark decision declaring the Decision 2016/1250 of the European Commission on the adequacy of the protection provided by the EU-US Data Protection Shield (“Privacy Shield Framework”) invalid with the immediate effect. This decision has caused a major shift in the way in which personal data may be transferred to the United States of America. However, the scope of the decision is far broader and includes far more restrictions than it may appear at first glance.

On 26 June 2020, the Government of Serbia adopted a decree* allowing citizens to obtain cadastre excerpts at the notary public office or at a geodetic organisation. Hence, when citizens are in need of the public notary services or of services provided by the geodetic organisation, it will be possible from now on to finalize the procedure in the public notary’s or geodetic organization’s office.

Recently we have received many inquiries from our clients regarding the e-signature regulations applicable in Serbia. The possibility of using an electronic signature has been especially explored since the outbreak of COVID 19 pandemic, due to the fact that working from home and social distancing have become a part of our everyday life. Below you will find some key considerations regarding the use of electronic signatures in Serbia.

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SOG / Samardzic, Oreski & Grbovic at a Glance

SOG / Samardžić, Oreški & Grbović is a full service business law firm providing the highest quality legal advice across a wide range of key areas of corporate law in Serbia and the Western Balkans. We are particularly noted for legal expertise, high professional and ethical standards, attention to detail, and responsiveness. SOG is firmly committed to providing advice at the highest level and achieving lasting results for our clients.

In order to provide our regional and international clients having business interests in more than one jurisdiction, we have also established a strong regional presence through our partner offices in Bosnia & Herzegovina, Macedonia, and Montenegro. This way, our clients gain a full spectrum of support and the most up to date and nuanced advice on the business and regulatory environment across the entire region.

Firm's website: www.sog.rs