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In honor of CMS Budapest’s 30-year anniversary – the Pearl anniversary, formally, in the city often called the Pearl of the Danube – we reached out to several of the prominent partners to learn a bit more about the changes they’ve seen over the years, and the practices they manage.

Switching to electric vehicles has become a trend, in Ukraine as across the world. Few are aware that, according to 2017 InsideEVs (the global platform that analyzes electric vehicle markets) Ukraine is among the top ten countries with the highest rate of electric vehicle sales.

In recent years, Russia has experienced intense development in its automotive industry. After the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the subsequent deep economic crisis, it quickly became apparent that the Russia’s automotive industry was unable to meet the needs of the newly developing automotive market in Russia. National producers lost market share to foreign manufacturers despite high import custom rates. Russian consumers were not willing to buy technically outdated national products and were looking for foreign brands.

The automotive industry is facing several changes that will shape the future of mobility and production. The car of the future will be electric, connected, and automated, and it will provide benefits for individual consumers and society as a whole. One major message of the recent Automotive in Transition Conference in Budapest was that the automation revolution is bringing challenges, but it is also bringing new opportunities for Hungary to emerge stronger from the transition process.

On the eve of a widely-expected global economic downturn, the Croatian economy finally emerged from “junk” investment status, and rating agencies now rank it as “investment” tier. Formal confirmation of this new status is expected to come in the course of spring 2019 – when the first signs of a slowdown in the local economy are already signalled. The country’s GDP is growing shyly but persistently and after five years of membership in the EU there is a visible uplift in the trade balance with export of goods and services (predominantly with other EU-member countries) as the main driver.

2018 was an eventful year from a compliance perspective, with data privacy, cyber security, and anti-money laundering among the key areas. Like other countries in the EU, Bulgaria has made steps to harmonize its legislation and follow the major legal trends in Europe.

Legislation and Strategic Changes in the Bulgarian Energy Sector: Several amendments were made to Bulgaria’s energy laws in 2018 facilitating the further liberalization of the energy market. Renewable energy producers exceeding 4 MW installed capacity that enjoyed offtake of their energy at Feed-In Tariff (FiT) were introduced to a different support scheme: Contracts for Premium (CfP), which became effective on January 1, 2019. Under CfP, renewables sell their electricity to the free market – either to the Independent Bulgarian Energy Exchange (IBEX) or to their balancing group coordinators.

In The Corner Office we ask Senior and Managing Partners across Central and Eastern Europe about their unique roles and responsibilities. The question this time around: “What is the one skill, ability, or characteristic that fresh law school graduates in your country most commonly lack?”

The beginning of 2019 will mark the start of a major transformation of the Serbian tax system, bringing new and exciting opportunities for companies who do business or wish to invest in Serbia, but also bringing potential challenges concerning the practical application of new tax rules.

Pursuant to an amendment to the Turkish Value Added Tax Law at the beginning of 2018, non-resident electronic service suppliers are now liable for Value Added Tax on services provided electronically to Turkish individuals who are not VAT taxpayers.

The Deal:  In July 2018, CEE Legal Matters reported that Reff & Associates had advised Dutch shipbuilding group Damen on its take-over of Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co Ltd.’s participation in Romania’s Daewoo Mangalia shipyard. DSME was advised by CMS. The yard, which was renamed the Damen Shipyards Mangalia, is now operated as a joint venture with the Romanian Government, with Damen assuming operational control. We reached out to both firms for more information.

No individual, no business, and no country is immune from the threat of cybercrime. The increasingly successful and complex economies of CEE countries are no exception to this rule. In fact, for both historical and political reasons, CEE is at particular peril.

On July 30, 2018, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed into law two bills approved by the Russian Parliament aimed at improving commercial, civil, administrative and criminal proceedings in Russia (the “Bills”).

The The rules on collective redress were first introduced in Croatia’s legal system by two special acts – the 2003 Consumer Protection Act and the 2009 Act on Prevention of Discrimination. It was only later, in 2011, that the Civil Procedure Act provided the general legal framework for collective redress actions, named “actions for the protection of collective interests and rights.”

Bulgaria, along with the entire CEE region, has been experiencing a surge in investment and transactions over the past two to three years. Prior to that, hit by a late wave of the global recession, Bulgarian business faced problems with over-indebtedness, resulting in a large number of insolvencies, especially in the real estate sector. Since then, however, insolvencies have been decreasing. Thus, the recent uptick in the number of insolvency procedures being initiated in a particular sector – energy – deserves special focus and attention.

While globalization and digitalization have increased the risk of violations that affect thousands of consumers, several EU member states — including Austria — do not yet offer class action lawsuits. The EU Commission has therefore proposed a draft directive to allow representative actions for the protection of collective interests of consumers as part of its “New Deal for Consumers.”

Article 2 of the Montenegrin Law on the Protection of Competition limits the law’s application to acts undertaken within the territory of Montenegro and acts undertaken outside of Montenegro which have as their object or effect the distortion of competition in Montenegro. In practice, however, the Law on the Protection of Competition (the “Law”) seems sometimes to be applied beyond its territorial scope.

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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