At the end of September, the long-awaited Regulation (EU) 2023/1804) on the deployment of alternative fuel infrastructure, and repealing Directive 2014/94/EU (“AFIR”) was published in the Official Journal of the European Union. Though the entry into force of AFIR is 13 April 2024, it is worth reviewing the key takeaways that the AFIR introduces as part of the EU’s Fit for 55 package.
Trade secrets are an invaluable asset for many businesses, often encompassing years of research, innovation, and strategic development. Protecting them is paramount, and the legal landscape surrounding this protection is ever-evolving. The European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) recently published the report “Trade Secrets Litigation Trends in the EU” (June 2023), which provides fresh insights into the state of trade secrets litigation within the European Union.
For almost every industry, sustainability involves adopting environmentally and socially responsible practices throughout a company's operations, from sourcing and production to sales and customer engagement. This includes reducing carbon emissions, promoting fair labor practices, supporting the product lifecycle, leveraging blockchain and digital systems, ensuring supply chain transparency, and maintaining ethical governance standards. Therefore, environmental sustainability policies need to be integrated into internal company rules, and, in particular, stakeholders in every sector need to take more responsibility for ESG practices.
September 2023 – According to Article 5 of the Serbian Banking Act (Zakon o bankama), no person other than a bank licensed in Serbia may engage in the granting of loans unless authorised by law. One Serbian law that does allow foreign banks (i.e., banks not established and licensed in Serbia) to provide cross-border loans to Serbian entities is the Serbian Foreign Exchange Act (Zakon o deviznom poslovanju). In particular, Article 18(7) of the Foreign Exchange Act expressly allows Serbian entities to borrow cross-border from foreign banks, which are not required to obtain a banking licence in Serbia for this purpose.
Under Hungarian law the judge can reduce the amount of the contractual penalty if it is excessive. The penalty reduction shall be expressly requested by the defendant during the litigation. Can the defendant submit such request at any time during the litigation, or is there any deadline for that? In a recent decision, the Hungarian Supreme Court addressed this issue.
One of the important advantages of arbitration proceedings is that the parties can appoint co-arbitrators. Thus, the parties can ensure that those whose impartiality, knowledge and fairness they trust will decide on their dispute. This opportunity raises the question of who the party-appointed arbitrators should be and the criteria by which the parties should appoint the party-appointed arbitrators.
The German Supply Chain Due Diligence Act is a major advancement in the supply chain network, improving international human rights and environmental standards across the board. It focuses on issues of child labour, health and safety standards, and the role of trade unions, and will have substantial effects on all relevant parties concerned due to its scope and importance. For instance, the Act bans all sorts of conduct from discrimination to forced labour. Serbia in particular will be considerably impacted, since Germany is the country's largest trade partner.
Hungarian forest management regulations are among the strictest in Europe, however, there have always been investments and real estate developments that affected forest areas, the effect of which could so far be compensated by a fine in certain cases. As of 1 July 2023, the new provisions of the Forest Act brought pleasant changes, as even in the case of non-natural forests, the authority immediately obliges the developers affecting the forest area to reforest and not only to pay a forest protection contribution, if the size of the area reaches or exceeds one hectare.
The European Commission (“Commission") has been in the process of what can be called a reform of secondary legislation for the last few years. The Commission has issued several legislative developments that have reformed European competition law. After a long period of work, in May 2022, The Commission launched the new VBER with extensive changes. This year, the Commission made further changes on the EU Merger Regulation, extended the EU Motor Vehicle Block Exemption Regulation (MVBER), introduced the new EU Revised Horizontal Block Exemption Regulation, introduced Guidelines on Exclusionary Abuses, and announced public consultation under Digital Markets Act (DMA).
The Hungarian renewable energy sector has recently undergone a huge development, mainly focusing on photovoltaic power plants. In Hungary, rooftop photovoltaic projects are mainly widespread among households and companies to cover their own electrical needs. These projects are so-called household power plants, which are basically micro power plants connected to the low-voltage system.
Albania is making significant changes to its gambling laws. The Albanian government has been actively revising its gambling regulations, with the latest amendments poised to usher in a new era for the industry. Recent developments and what they mean for the future of gambling in the country are explored below.
The Romanian Financial Supervisory Authority (FSA) released for public consultation a draft regulation proposing amendments to its Regulation 5/2019 applicable mainly to investment firms and, in limited cases, to credit institutions providing investment services and/or activities and alternative fund managers.