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On December 1, 2021, CEE Legal Matters reported that Greenberg Traurig had advised CA Immo on the sale of the Wspolna 47-49 office building in Warsaw to Yareal Polska. CEE In-House Matters spoke with Ingo Steinwender, Group Head of Legal at CA Immobilien, to learn more about the sale.

Back in 2007, the foundation for sustainable financing was set through the issuance of a green Climate Awareness Bond by the European Investment Bank. This was in part due to the increased awareness of climate change. By June 2022, Austria wants to issue its first Green Bond. Possible investments for the Green Bond are public transport and renewable energy. Aside from bonds, sustainable financing can be concluded in several other product forms, such as guarantee lines, as well as classic bank loans. The volume of sustainable syndicated bank loans reached EUR 200 billion for the first time, last year.

An act implementing the cross-border distribution of funds Directive (the "CBDFD") into Austrian law (the "Act") finally entered into force on 11 December 2021. The Austrian legislator was already late with the implementation, since EU Member States were required to transpose the CBDFD into national legislation by 2 August 2021.

The world is undergoing a digital transformation. Whether at work, play or socialising, it is hard to imagine even a day without the Internet. Recent challenges (eg, the covid-19 pandemic) have further accelerated digitalisation. The world is far from the end of this process. Many businesses, and countries, are increasingly focusing on the digital transformation. Recent examples include cloud computing, cryptocurrency or the "metaverse" which was recently announced by Mark Zuckerberg.

House searches have been all over the news in Austria recently. In case you have been wondering what happens to your phone, laptop and tablet when the prosecutor comes knocking – read below.

On September 9, 2021, CEE Legal Matters reported that Ibrahimovic & Co had advised Studen & Co Holding on an agreement with the Brcko District's Government to build a free business zone in the district. CEE In-House Matters spoke with Natasa Pucar, Corporate Communication Director at Studen & Co Holding, to learn more about the matter.

On 2 November 2021 the Austrian Financial Market Authority (FMA) published its long-awaited amended Online Identification Regulation (Online-Identifikationsverordnung, "Online-IDV"). The FMA herewith enables financial service providers subject to the KYC obligations of the Financial Market Anti-Money Laundering Law (Finanzmarkt-Geldwäschegesetz; "FM-GwG") to use purely biometrical processes for remote identification of new customers. Biometrical identification processes are all procedures for online customer identification where the entire or parts of the online identification are carried out by an automated electronic procedure without the involvement of employees – there is no need for personal contact in the whole remote identification process anymore.

Gas is of particular economic importance for Austria. In addition to production, infrastructure (including the Baumgarten gas hub), transportation, trade, and supply-secure coverage of gas demand play a major role. Yearly demand of roughly 80 to 90 terawatt-hours, constant over the last ten years, is generated by the manufacturing and energy sectors, non-energy consumption, agriculture, private households, power plants as conversion applications, transport, and the service sector. With a share of about 15%, gas also plays an important role in Austria’s electricity generation, primarily by providing flexible capacities that can be utilized at short notice to stabilize the power grid.

In summer 2021 the European Banking Authority (EBA) published Draft Guidelines on the limited network exemption (LNE) under the Payment Service Directive 2 (PSD2) for consultation. The Draft Guidelines are meant to foster supervisory convergence amongst the EU's national competent regulators (NCAs).

The NFT market is still relatively new and volatile, but its potential is huge. Christie's managed to auction an NFT linked to an artwork for over USD 69 million this March, proving that NFTs are a new asset class that can carry significant value. A value, that needs protection just like any other asset class.

The Austrian Cartel and Competition Law Amendment Act 2021 (KaWeRÄG 2021) will introduce – in part substantial – amendments to the Austrian merger control regime as of 1 January 2022. The amendment originated in the context of the implementation of the ECN+ Directive. However, the Austrian legislator seized the opportunity to, among other things, refine the Austrian merger control regime by introducing a second domestic turnover threshold and implementing the SIEC test, as well as to strengthen the FDI screening mechanism.