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Since 2008 joint stock companies in Ukraine have functioned under a special corporate governance law (the “JSC Law”), which has improved through the course of its existence. Year after year, with the help of the SEC and the business community, Ukrainian legislators have introduced profound amendments to the law to bring corporate governance in JSCs in Ukraine closer to European standards, to attract foreign investments, and to insure adequate protection of rights of various stakeholders (minority shareholders, creditors, etc.) As a result, Ukraine has moved up in the World Bank’s Doing Business ranking, and in 2020 the country ranks 64th in the ease of doing business and 45th in the minority shareholders protection component.

We decided to lighten the mood this time around by asking our Law Firm Marketing experts from across the region a non-law-firm related question: “What did you most want to be when you were little?”

Over the past few years CMS advised the OTP Bank Group on an extensive series of acquisitions across Bulgaria, Moldova, and former Yugoslavia. This series of separate deals was shortlisted for CEE Legal Matters’ CEE Deal of the Year in each of the countries involved, actually winning the 2018 Deal of the Year for Bulgaria and the 2019 Deal of the Year Award for Montenegro. We reached out to Eva Talmacsi, who led CMS’s multi-jurisdictional team, to learn more about the firm’s impressive work on OTP’s behalf.

On January 1st, 2020, the Hungarian government adopted new legislation making continuing professional education compulsory for lawyers, post-qualification, along the lines of post-certification training and education that tax advisors and accountants had been forced to obtain for many years.

Advertising of medical devices is a significant market activity in the regulated pharma industry. Companies are always in search of new tactics and business strategies to remain competitive in the market and to attract new customers, in conditions of fierce market competition.

In the European Commission’s January 8 Report on the protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights in third countries, Ukraine was identified as a Priority 2 country. This category includes countries with systematic problems in the area of intellectual property protection and enforcement, causing significant harm to EU countries.

The Hungarian banking sector enjoyed a banner year in 2019, but still faces challenges. Legislative changes are creating more aggressive competition between banks, which in turn are cutting fees and demanding flexible financing structures in order to survive. Although some banks are unwilling to take part in these practices, one thing is certain: All banks must adapt to the new regulatory environment. I’ve outlined some of the major challenges that Hungarian banks face in the near future.

On September 20 2019, CEE Legal Matters reported that BLS had advised Pannonia Bio Zrt. – a company operating a biorefinery in Tolna County, Hungary, that is the largest ethanol plant in Europe – and that CMS Hungary had advised OTP Bank Plc. on Pannonia Bio’s issuance of the first Hungarian forint bond in line with the Central Bank of Hungary’s Bond Funding for Growth Scheme.

Before being elected President of Ukraine last May, Volodymyr Zelensky had virtually no experience in public office. Despite his inexperience – or perhaps because of it – over 73% of the electorate concluded that the comedian and entertainer was the right man to replace Petro Poroshenko, the previous President, and now Zelensky finds himself, at 41, leading an entire nation.

In The Corner Office we ask Managing Partners across Central and Eastern Europe about their unique roles and responsibilities. The question this time around: What major initiative or new plan does your office (or firm) plan – if any – for 2020?

Climate change-related risks have climbed to the top of the agenda of various stakeholders across the globe: governments, international organizations, NGOs, businesses, and ordinary citizens. The Global Risk Report 2020, presented this year at the World Economic Forum in Davos, demonstrates that climate-related risks – including extreme weather, climate action failure, natural disasters, biodiversity loss, and human-made environmental disasters – are among the top five long-term risks over the next ten years. Most notably, according to survey respondents, the failure of climate change mitigation and adaptation is this year’s number one long-term risk by impact. The report underscores that, in the 2020s, “concerted action is required not only to reduce emissions but also to develop credible adaptation strategies, including climate-proofing infrastructure, closing the insurance protection gap, and scaling up public and private adaptation finance.”

When it comes to resolving disputes between contracting parties, the threat, “I’ll see you in court!” often is the first thing to cross peoples’ minds. This call to arms is still common, despite the availability now of different dispute resolution methods, such as arbitration.

Prorogation clauses are forum-selection clauses in contracts between entrepreneurs, who agree in writing on the local jurisdiction of a first-instance court for disputes arising out of or in connection with their business matter, unless the law states otherwise and prescribes an exclusive jurisdiction. It is possible to enter into a separate prorogation agreement instead of a contractual clause with the same effect.

The “order for payment procedure” was initially introduced in Bulgaria with the adoption of the new Civil Procedural Code in 2007 as an accelerated enforcement procedure for debt collection. This procedure provides creditors with a relatively fast and easy way to obtain an enforcement order against debtors. In general, the order for payment procedure is like a closed administrative procedure and requires only the submission of a standard application form and payment of a state fee of 2% of the amount claimed.

Attendees to the 2019 CEELM Winter Party were cornered, over the course of the evening, and asked, without warning or an opportunity to prepare, what achievement over the past 12 months they were proudest of.

Against a backdrop of global uncertainty fuelled by Brexit, a US-China trade war, and a weakening German economy, Central and Eastern Europe has proven itself economically resilient in the face of a challenging year. Led by Hungary, Poland, and Romania – all of which reported more than 4% GDPs growth – many emerging European countries have comfortably outshone the sluggish economies of Western Europe. It is, therefore, unsurprising that foreign investors flocked to the region in 2019 in search of healthy returns.

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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