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In The Corner Office we ask Managing Partners across Central and Eastern Europe about their unique roles and responsibilities. The question this time: “What one ongoing pro bono initiative or project or charity/volunteering project that your firm is involved with has the most meaning for you personally, and why?”

The legal markets of Central and Eastern Europe are served by a growing cadre of strong domestic firms, an established collective of widely-recognized and genuinely impressive regional firms … and, of course, many of the largest and best international firms in the world.

Over the course of our seven years, CEE Legal Matters has interviewed most of the British lawyers working on the ground in Central and Eastern Europe as part of our recurring “Expat on the Market” feature. We reached out to them recently and asked them to bring us up to speed on what they’re doing and/or share their thoughts on the ramifications of Brexit or the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.

If certain statutory conditions are fulfilled, companies obliged to pay the Macedonian Corporate Income Tax (CIT) should submit reports for their 2019 transactions with related parties to the Public Revenue Office before September 30, 2020. The 2019 financial year is the first for which CIT payers are obliged to file such reports, according to the CIT Law.

Given the significant tightening of Polish tax regulations with regard to carrying out and appropriately documenting and reporting transactions, implementing a tax risk management policy has now become a business necessity in Poland both for enterprises with Polish capital and global giants with Polish subsidiaries.

Prominent Serbian attorneys provide an overview of the country’s prospects heading out of the recent election cycle and into an uncertain future.

Doing business remotely continues to gain in popularity, both allowing work to continue (often from home) when pandemic conditions require it and actually increasing many individuals’ overall productivity in certain industries. Despite its advantages, however, the data implications of remote working have recently become more complex.

Rare is the opportunity to participate in a wave of enthusiastic transformation – a breaking-away from old ways and a journey to uncharted regions. Duncan Weston, Executive Partner at CMS, has played a fundamental role in several different law firm and legal industry transformations. And he’s not done yet.

Montenegro first introduced a State aid control framework in 2011 in preparation for initiating the EU accession process. Almost ten years later, as the candidate country currently furthest along its accession journey, Montenegro has largely harmonized its State aid framework with the EU acquis. Still, the current level of enforcement and transparency leave a lot of room for improvement.

In merger control, the standstill obligation requires that the parties refrain from implementing a concentration before obtaining the required merger clearance. This duty represents a cornerstone of many merger control regimes and is intended to protect the structure of the market and the consumers from any damage that could result from a transaction that had not been properly examined and could turn out to be anti-competitive.

Some experts say that “data is the new oil,” but oil can catch fire easily without proper handling. When you hear concerns about the collection of personal data, you might first associate them with data protection regulations, but competition law can also seriously affect your business. Competition authorities have intervened recently against platforms by using patterns that might be widely applied to other companies. Is this just the beginning? Who is in danger?

The year started with expectations of growth and stability. Along came COVID-19, and the focus shifted to stability and survival. The Turkish banking sector, used to market turmoil, took proactive steps, and the authorities matched the effort.

The Turkish capital markets have undergone many regulatory amendments and adjustments this year to provide a more robust environment in terms of transparency, competition, and stability for investors. As regulators have kept manipulative transactions in their sights to overcome the panic created by COVID-19, the Turkish Capital Markets Board (CMB) has imposed many sanctions and penalties.

Are you still reading? Despite the title this is not a COVID-19 piece. Quite frankly we have had enough of that. We want life to go back to how it was – but it won’t. Something new is happening. People have been humbled by the effects of the C-word on their very existence. Everyone is suddenly more aware of the need to change – in Turkey, for example, we always kiss and hug upon meeting, and we are not used to the concept of social distancing at all. Now we stand a meter apart and elbow or fist bump – which still feels odd to me. We are aware and we are asking ourselves – “what needs to change? Was this our fault? What is biodiversity? What can we do?”

Already struggling with the international coronavirus pandemic, Bulgaria has recently found itself dealing with a major internal political crisis as well – one which, ironically, despite the general incentive towards social distancing, has brought people outside of their homes and onto the streets of the nation’s major cities.

CMS at a Glance

CMS Sofia is a full-service law firm, the largest international law firm in Bulgaria and one of the largest providers of legal services in the local market as a whole. The breadth and depth of our practice means that our lawyers are specialised, with a level of specialisation that few of our competitors can match.

CMS Sofia is the Bulgarian branch of CMS, a top ten global legal and tax services provider with over 5000 lawyers in 43 countries and 78 offices across the world.

CMS entered the Bulgarian market as one of the first internationally active law firms in 2005 and is now among the most respected legal advisors in the country. We have 7 partners, 4 counsel and over 30 lawyers in our office in Sofia.

Our legal experts, who are rooted in Bulgaria’s local culture, can also draw on years of experience in foreign countries and are at home in several legal systems at once. We know the particularities of the local market just as well as the needs of our clients and combine both to achieve optimum solutions. Our lawyers are Bulgarian qualified and we also have English qualified experts – all of them regularly working on cross-border mandates.

In our work, we focus on M&A, Energy, Projects and Construction, Banking and Finance, Real Estate, Media, IP and IT law, Tax, Employment law, Competition, Procurement and any kind of Dispute resolution, including arbitration and mediation. What’s more, we also take care of the entire legal management of our clients’ projects.

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