Like many countries in the region, 2020 in North Macedonia’s was an election year, and the recent formation of its new government, according to CMS Partner Marija Filipovska, “hopefully heralds a bit more stable of a period to come.” According to her, “the newly elected government is strongly pro-EU and is also very vocal in favoring Western investment” which she believes could “create a stable environment in which FDI can flow stronger if (the government) is doing their job.”
According to Andrej Kirm, the Managing Partner of Ljubljana’s Kirm Perpar law firm, things are going pretty well in Slovenia. “It’s pretty much business as usual, apart from the Covid-19 crisis,” he says. Indeed, he says, while most larger transactions were put on hold from March to June, “now a lot of things are progressing, and we hope this will continue through the end of the year.” According to him, “we are quite optimistic, and business is surviving better than we expected back in March.
Despite some political and legal debates between Hungary and the European Union, Baker McKenzie Partner Marton Horanyi, who also co-heads the firm’s Antitrust and Competition practice group in Hungary, says, “not much out of the ordinary” is going on, politically. “In fact, investors in Hungary appreciate that things have been rather stable now for the past few years.”
The conflict in the east of the country that began in 2014 is not the only thing plaguing Ukraine. After the fall of the pro-Russian regime in the wake of the Euromaidan revolution, the independent National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine was established to tackle the issue of corruption in the country.
“We should talk about politics and economy together, because they go hand in hand,” says Zeynep Cakmak, Managing Partner of the Cakmak law firm in Istanbul. “Despite the trend of having snap elections in recent years, Turkey has been stable for a while. However, that might change soon, since rumors have surfaced that we will have elections in the fall.”
Partly due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Russia’s legislative process has slowed down, says CMS Moscow Partner Anton Bankovskiy. “However,” he says, “the ‘regulatory guillotine,’ – the ongoing process of amending or eliminating the many laws remaining from the country’s Soviet past – has picked up pace.” In addition, he says, “the State Duma recently passed new laws introducing the ‘regulatory sandbox’ framework, which enables companies and entrepreneurs to implement innovative technologies, unrestricted by the current legal limits related to those technologies.”
“Due to a very hefty package of financial aid, at least judging by Serbian standards, our economy shouldn’t suffer a significant drop in GDP,” says Karanovic & Partners Partner Goran Radosevic. "Some estimates show that the drop shouldn’t be higher than 4%, which is much better than what our neighboring countries are expecting.”
“The current political situation in Estonia is quite confusing,” says Gerli Kilusk, Partner at Ellex in Estonia. “We had the general elections in 2019, which were won by the center-right Reform party. However, to everyone’s surprise, a coalition was formed by the Centre party with the minority Conservative People's party, which is well known for its far-right stances.” A year later, she says, “that coalition is not functioning very well, as even though the prime minister is from the Centre party, the politics seem to be are actually dictated by the conservatives.”
As elsewhere in the EU, Walless Partner Gediminas Dominas says, “the thing that Lithuanian lawyers are still talking about is how the reality of an ongoing pandemic is affecting everyday activities.” According to him, “it has affected everything, really, but mostly litigation and disputes – do we go into courtrooms or do things online, and if so, how we confront witnesses, how we ensure confidentiality, witness identity and integrity if it’s all online?"
“Romania's Liberal government has recently announced a new program of investment," says Horea Popescu, CMS Partner and Head of Corporate M&A in CEE. “The goal behind the program is an economic relaunch. The government has only published a white paper so far, which is currently being debated and commented on.”
“Slovakia’s new Government took office in March this year, exactly at the time COVID-19 hit,” says Peter Vrabel of the Legate law firm in Bratislava. “The Government consists of four parties – three of which are in the Parliament for the first time. Of course, the situation found them unprepared, so some mistakes naturally happened as a result of that. Overall, however, the response they had [to the Covid-19 outbreak] was quick and successful."
“In terms of national politics, when it comes to Latvia, the word of the day is ‘stability,'“ says Raimonds Slaidins, Senior Partner at Ellex Klavins in Riga. “The current coalition government has been in power for about one and a half years now, and other than the COVID-19 crisis this has been a good, stable period of time for us — there aren’t any indications that something might change in the near future regarding the national government.“