The implementation of the EU’s fourth money laundering directive (2015/849/EU, or MLD4) is a subject of significant interest in Romania, as the process of adopting a new Money Laundering Bill (MLB) in line with the provisions of the MLD4 to replace the current Money Laundering Act is in full progress.
Due to multiple murky provisions in the applicable legislation, the privatization process in Romania has triggered a number of legal battles, varying from the rescission of share sale purchase agreements concluded between the Romanian state (acting through various entities) and investors for the investors’ failure to comply with investment obligations to the recognition or protection of certain rights arising from the privatization itself.
The brain drain of highly trained and otherwise qualified professionals is increasingly felt in all industry sectors of Romania. We have lost people from all professional backgrounds and levels, low- and high-skilled alike. Statistics are disconcerting: in 2017, nine Romanians left the country every hour and we were second in the world after war-stricken Syria in emigration rankings. In the space of only ten years, about 17% of Romania’s population left the country. How many of them will ever come back? Romania needs a strong country project, sustained, ongoing efforts meant to encourage return migration, and policies to dissuade those who consider leaving the country. In 2018, the centenary year of Romania’s Great Union, I wish for a stronger, more united Romania, looking for ways to entice the next generations away from emigrating and into returning to their home country.
While 2017 was characterized by various fiscal changes, experiments, and abandoned proposals, the tax landscape at the end of 2018 underpins the competitive edge of Romania in the region. Still, there are reasonable threats with regard to the predictability of the tax system, considering the current macroeconomic trends and the budgetary constraints faced by the Romanian government.
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.
The Vouchers Directive, which regulates the VAT treatment of vouchers across the EU Member States, was agreed upon by the Council of the EU in 2016, and caught the attention of Romanian authorities, tax advisors, and businesses at the end of 2017. Together with other Member States, Romania must design and enforce an appropriate legal framework to ensure the application of the Directive starting in 2019.
1999 was the year I started my career as an attorney, as a young graduate from the law school at Bucharest University, just accepted to the Bucharest Bar. Times then were so much different than today, and as 20 years have gone by, I look at what those years have meant for Romania and for me, and how much things have changed for the country I continue to live in and build my personal and professional life in.