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On 22 February 2024, the government adopted a proposal for a new Act on Judicial Protection Procedure for Former Holders of Qualified Liabilities of Banks ("ZPSVIKOB-1 Proposal"),the purpose of which is to eliminate the identified unconstitutionality of the previous Act ("ZPSVIKOB") and to finally appropriately regulate the procedure under which former holders could claim compensation for the controversial decisions of the Bank of Slovenia on the cancellation of their qualified liabilities in 2013.

In order to promote the health of employees and prevent workplace accidents, the Hungarian Government had significantly increased the fines for the breach of occupational health and safety rules as of 1 March 2024. The rule on its amount was removed from the applicable act and its details were laid down in a government decree.

As we move into yet another year with the special surtaxes in effect, the question justifiably arises: for how much longer will the extra-profit taxes, those labelled initially as temporary, encumber the Hungarian taxpayers’ declarations. Also, businesses now have to face additional burdens, such as the EPR fees, the carbon quota tax or the global minimum of the corporate income tax.

The main breaches of the Regulation (EU) No. 679 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 April 2016 on the protection of natural persons with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data, and repealing Directive 95/46/EC (hereinafter the “GDPR” or the “Regulation”) committed by the Romanian data controllers (the “Controllers”) investigated and sanctioned by the National Supervisory Authority for Personal Data Processing (the “Supervisory Authority”) in 2023 may be summarized as follows:

While rendering day-to-day corporate advice to various clients, we have noticed lately a trend specific to limited liability companies, which involves allowing the directors of the respective companies to delegate all their powers to another individual for certain operations, either via the Articles of Incorporation or by resolution of shareholders.

Certain amendments to the Land Transaction Act entered into force on 1 January 2024. The amendment introduces the definition of a rice farm, which includes the land and, as an accessory thereto, the land parcel registered as an area excluded from cultivation serving the rice production (e.g. ditch and drainage systems, embankments and farm roads). The amended Act contains specific provisions, such as two new legal bases for the pre-emption right in respect of rice farms.

According to the Hungarian Government's spring 2024 legislative program, the Hungarian Parliament may decide on the introduction of a “European minimum wage” as early as this spring session. The EU minimum wage directive highlights the importance of European social dialogue frameworks in reaching agreements on minimum wages among Member States.

On 8 March 2024, Law of Ukraine No. 3587-IX (“Law”) came into force, intending to bring Ukrainian laws on the governance of state-owned enterprises (state unitary enterprises and business entities where the state holds more than 50% of shares) (“SOEs”) in line with the OECD Guidelines on Corporate Governance of State-Owned Enterprises.

The recent judgement of the Court of Justice of the European Union (“CJEU”) on the sale of over-the-counter (OTC) medicinal products online (C-606/21, decision published on 29.02.2024) may have a direct impact on the existing Hungarian legislation and established market practice.

At the end of January, the Ministry of Finance invited representatives of business associations to submit their views regarding the possibility of a reform aiming to increase the progressivity of salary taxation. The Ministry emphasized that the framework for the change refers only to salary tax and not to contributions for mandatory social insurance, as well as that any proposals should produce effects that are de minimis budget neutral, both at the level of the entire economy and at the level of local governments.

The Court of Justice of the European Union (the “Court of Justice of the EU” or the “Court”) delivered a judgment, on 20 February 2024, in Case C-715/20 (K.L. v X sp. z o.o.), in which it ruled as follows:

There are few healthcare reforms that could be called revolutionary. Even fewer have been initiated in the courtroom. Case C-412/23 could be one of those rare cases. On July 5, 2023, the European Commission brought an action against the Slovak Republic for allegedly infringing Directive 2011/7 on combating late payment in commercial transactions by continuously failing in 2015, 2016, 2017, and from 2018 onward to ensure that public entities providing healthcare pay their commercial debts within a maximum period of 60 calendar days.

Recently, Slovak legislation underwent a significant change with the adoption of the Act on Transformations of Commercial Companies and Cooperatives. Effective as of March 1, 2024, the act marks a departure from previous regulations within the Slovak Commercial Code, which had grown rather inflexible and outdated in the area of corporate transformations.

The solar power plant market in Hungary became very active lately and it is expected to grow further still. Transactions in this market require more due diligence than, for example, the sale of a business property, and it seems that as of this January, foreign investors will need to consider this further aspect simultaneously when making a business decision on a solar market transaction.

Hungary recently adopted the so-called “ESG Act” (Act CVIII of 2023) relating to corporate social responsibility, taking into account environmental, social, and governance aspects, in order to promote sustainable financing and unified corporate responsibility. The act will gradually enter into force for different players within three years but, in general, is applicable as of January 1, 2024. The act is a framework regulation and further detailed rules are to be set out in government decrees yet to be issued to give greater clarity to market participants.

Hungary’s real estate market has undergone a notable transformation in response to recent economic shocks – war, soaring energy prices, sharp interest rate hikes, and high inflation rates. Initially taking a cautious wait-and-see approach, market players have now shifted toward a more proactive approach, navigating the complex economic environment through innovative strategies. Among these strategies, mixed-use developments have gained traction. They’re seen as resilient to market turbulence but also provide innovative development opportunities and new ways for urban transformation.

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