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While trying to bounce back from the COVID-19 pandemic, the world is running headlong into an energy crisis, and North Macedonia will meet the same fate. The country is facing serious electricity shortages due to the rising growth of prices on the energy exchanges in Europe. This, in turn, disables the companies that trade in electricity to comply with the agreements signed with companies and institutions to whom they supply electricity on the free market. The disbalance in the demand and supply is then covered from the reserves of the transmission system operator (“TSO”) MEPSO, who is drawing electricity from the European network, thus accruing massive debt. Meanwhile, North Macedonia is trying to increase the domestic production of electricity, by activating the third block of REK Bitola, the country’s biggest producer of electricity and coal.

Up until fairly recently, the lease of business buildings and business premises (offices, warehouses, pertaining parking spaces, etc.) in Slovenia was governed by the Business Buildings and Business Premises Act (“Act”). Since the Act was adopted back in 1974, it was not shaped for the modern business environment in which it is both in the interest of the lessee and the lessor to be able to act quickly and have at least a certain degree of flexibility when it comes to adopting business decisions. The obligatory 12-month notice period for termination of lease agreements, concluded for an indefinite period, and the obligation to terminate the lease agreement through court proceedings, for example, all but served those interests.

The Minister of Finance and the Prime Minister of North Macedonia recently presented the Plan for Accelerated Economic Development (“Plan”), intended to boost the economic development in the country and provide recovery of the economy for the period between 2022 and 2026.

Based on changes of the Decree on bodies within ministries, the competence to perform administrative tasks in the field of environmental protection and professional and administrative tasks in the field of nature conservation, except for administrative and professional tasks related to responsibility for prevention or remediation of environmental damage, have been transferred from the Environmental Agency of the Republic of Slovenia to the Ministry of the Environment and Spatial Planning.

The Law on Prevention of Corruption (the “Law”), the key piece of Serbian anti-corruption legislation that started to apply in September 2020, recently received a short set of amendments.

On 6 September 2021, the Competition Commission (the “Commission”) has initiated a formal procedure against company MAT – Real Estate for potential gun-jumping. The transaction concerned involves the acquisition of company Radijator d.o.o., a distributor of plumbing and heating equipment.

The Parliament of Federation of BiH adopted the amendments of the Company Law of Federation of BiH and the amendments have been published and entered into force on 23 September 2021. The amendments of the Law are aimed at achieving the goal set in the Reform Agenda of Federation of BiH related to simplification of the procedure for registration of business entities and setting up a one-stop-shop company registration system.

Data controllers and data processors had until 24 August 2021 to align with the new Law on Personal Data Protection in North Macedonia (“Law”), which introduced the GDPR in the local legislation at the beginning of 2020. Non-compliance with the new obligations for personal data protection can lead to severe penalties, such as fines of up to 2% and up to 4% of the total annual turnover from the previous financial year, per misdemeanor.

Following the record-long period, since May 25, 2018, during which Slovenia failed to adopt a relevant GDPR-implementing act, the Slovenian Government has sent a new draft of the Slovenian Data Protection Act for public discussion. If the parliamentary process runs uninterruptedly, the adoption of the new Act can be expected by the fall of this year.

The amendments of the Act on the Prohibition of Unfair Trading Practices in the Food Supply Chain (the “Amended Act”) shall enter into force on 1 September 2021, with a few exceptions. The main reason for adopting these amendments was transposition of the Directive (EU) 2019/633 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 April 2019 on unfair trading practices in business-to-business relationships in the agricultural and food supply chain (the “Directive”) into the local legal regime. The Directive aims to set out the minimum Union standard of protection by harmonizing Member States’ diverging measures relating to unfair trading practices. With these amendments, the Amended Act is further harmonized with EU acquis.

In August 2021, the Law on Financial Support of Investments (“Law”) in North Macedonia has undergone several amendments. Changes are focused on easing the conditions for application, affecting the balanced regional development, and speeding up the procedures for payment of the granted funds.

During the summer, the Assembly in North Macedonia adopted relevant amendments to the Labour Law concerning the conditions for retirement. According to the estimations by the proposers of the amendment, around 6000 employees from the public and the private sector already reached 64 years of age by the end of 2020.

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.

The Law on Electronic Invoicing entered into force on 7 May 2021 (“Official Gazette of the RS“, no. 44/2021). It obliges public and business entities to use the system of electronic invoices for issuing, sending, receiving and storing electronic invoices. On July 9 2021, the government adopted a set of bylaws necessary to implement the law.

Intellectual property is usually perceived through three main rights: copyright, patent and trademarks. Sensitive market-relevant information is usually perceived just as a benefit, but rarely as a right. Protection of trade secrets certainly deserves more attention. To make it easier to all market players to easily comprehend this right and for authorities to apply it, Serbia adopted a new Law on Protection of Trade Secrets, which came into force on 5 June 2020 (the “New Law”). The main reason for the new regulation, as proclaimed by the lawmakers, is the alignment with the EU acquis (especially, the Directive (EU) 2016/943 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 8 June 2016).

Karanovic & Partners at a Glance

Karanovic & Partners is a regional legal practice in Southeast Europe with a tradition spanning over 25 years and cooperating offices in Serbia, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, North Macedonia, and Albania. With more than 150 attorneys at law working together across the region, we take pride in our work, dedication, and understanding of our clients' industries and needs.

We work with some of the most respected and reputable businesses in the world, banks, as well as governments, state-owned entities, start-ups, and NGOs. We see our clients as long-term partners. We focus on straightforward solutions and tailor-made advice. Lawyers cooperating with us are fully immersed in our clients’ culture and industry to ensure that the work is delivered intelligently and reliably.

In our company culture, excellence is a must. We are reliable, adaptive, and fast. We operate under the “one team” principle, combining our regional reach and local know-how to deliver coordinated legal advice necessary for achieving our clients’ goals.

We are ambitious to propose innovative legal solutions and we are at the forefront of legal developments in Southeast Europe, pioneering new areas of the law and paving the way for new practices and regulations.

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