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Few global industries have been as strongly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic as the hotel industry. All over the world, chains and bespoke hoteliers have had to face the impact of travel restrictions on bookings, in most cases leading to dire falls in occupancy rates and, subsequently, income. Now that the pandemic has been wreaking havoc for over a year, how is the hotel industry in CEE coping, and what options do hoteliers have? We spoke with three CMS Partners – Ana Radnev, Gregor Famira, and Lukas Hejduk – to get their opinions on the current situation and outlook on the future of the sector.

As a large country with a population of over 82 million and a comprehensive public and private healthcare system designed to provide an accessible and equitable medical service to each and every person living in Turkey, the potential for every life science-related sector in the country could easily be deemed as advanced.

On May 26, 2021, the EU’s new Medical Device Regulation came into force, significantly changing the applicable regime, including – of particular interest to the dynamic Slovenian MedTech start-up community – by providing a new definition of software applications that need to be certified as medical devices.

Managed Entry Agreements consist of various forms of confidential arrangements between pharmaceutical companies and paying healthcare systems that aim to facilitate access to new technologies in public healthcare systems. MEAs make innovative and costly medicines or medical technologies affordable to patients by providing conditional access to a reimbursement system for a limited period and on balanced terms.

We are now one year on from the first lockdown, and although many worried in the early days of the pandemic that Romania’s court system might not be able to cope with the large number of insolvencies that were expected, in fact the highly-anticipated wave of restructurings is yet to happen, as the debt moratorium which was enacted and then extended and the availability of the state aid package as well as the generally supportive approach of the lenders have helped companies manage their debt service and need for liquidity.  While there is no shortage of funding, the uncertainty of the lockdown period and its impact on future developments have resulted in more amend-and-increase or amend-and-extend transactions, with borrowers adding to their existing lender groups rather than seeking a full refinancing. 

Economic, policy, and legislative factors have revived investors’ interest in Romania’s renewables sector over the last year. As the second-largest market in Central and Eastern Europe, Romania managed to attract about EUR 8 billion in renewables investments in the first wave from 2008-2016 – mainly in solar (over 1.5 GW) and wind (over 3 GW) – benefitting from the green certificate support scheme, although Romania reached its 2020 target for green energy and investments slowed down significantly over the last five years.

In “The Corner Office” we ask Managing Partners at law firms across Central and Eastern Europe about their backgrounds, strategies, and responsibilities. The question this time: “What did you most want to be when you were little?”

Annual reports make up a fundamental part of many regional CEE law firms’ marketing strategies, providing those firms with an annual opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge and expertise in a particular area, their geographic footprints, and their ownership and facility with the research and technological tools and manpower necessary for the production of such comprehensive projects.

CMS' Malgorzata Surdek-Janicka has been appointed as Vice-President of the International Court of Arbitration at the International Chamber of Commerce in Paris. Aside from Surdek-Janicka, 33 lawyers from CEE were appointed as members and alternate members of the court.

The increasing use of electric vehicles (EVs) in Austria means the supporting infrastructure requires constant development. The Austrian federal government program 2020-2024 envisages expanding the Austrian network of charging points for alternative fuels as an essential pillar of its drive towards implementing sustainable mobility solutions. In September 2020, the Austrian government followed through with its agenda by proposing the Austrian Renewable Energy Expansion Act (Erneuerbaren-Ausbau-Gesetz, EAG), which includes an amendment of the Austrian Act on Uniform Standards for Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Developments (Bundesgesetz zur Festlegung einheitlicher Standards beim Infrastrukturaufbau für alternative Kraftstoffe, BGFS). The EAG has recently been approved by the government and is now subject to discussions/approval by the Austrian parliament. The cornerstone of the amendment, which is expected to enter into force in the second half of 2021, involves establishing a public charging point register so that EV drivers can locate publicly accessible charging points when they need them and obtain other relevant information.

Strong investments in the Turkish infrastructure sector have been the driving force behind Turkey’s economic development. In the last decade, several investments referred to as “mega-projects” have gained much attention, such as the completed Eurasian Tunnel in Istanbul, a road transport tunnel running under the Bosphorus to connect the European and Asian sides of Istanbul; the new Istanbul Airport, increasing capacity from over 100 million to over 200 million passengers per year; the third Istanbul Bridge, still one of the largest projects with construction costs of around TRY 4.5 billion (although it fell short of expectations and required USD 2.7 billion in refinancing from ICBC and still could not be executed due to the pandemic). One of the most recent projects is the 1915 Canakkale Bridge and Highway Project.

The coronavirus pandemic and accompanying restrictions introduced by the majority of countries around the world are having a major impact on the development of global and local economies. It seems that carrying out infrastructure investment projects may help with rebuilding the economic and financial condition of countries negatively affected by the coronavirus.

The COVID-19 epidemic and consequent restrictive measures strongly affected Slovenia’s economy, including the country’s rental market. The COVID-19 epidemic impacted all commercial leases, with tourism, hospitality, and to an extent retail among the sectors suffering most. Commercial properties with strong tenants such as IT & Life Science companies and public sector entities proved to be much more resilient than commercial properties dependent on tenants from distressed sectors.

Turkey continues to prioritize the adoption and consistent implementation of sustainability principles throughout its economy. Indeed, the Turkish Capital Markets Board recently set a voluntary threshold for companies subject to its supervision, and many are finding the use of green buildings valuable in reaching them. In addition to their economic benefits, green buildings – which are socially and environmentally compatible with their environment – are gaining importance in determining a company’s level of sustainability credibility and sustainable investment commitment.

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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