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In a recent warning, the European Union Commission sent infringement letters to Romania and seven other countries alerting them that they had failed to notify the EC of any implementation measures related to the transposition of the 5th Anti-Money Laundering Directive (EU Directive 2018/843, or AML 5) into national law, and instructing them to proceed with the transposition, which was supposed to have happened by January 10th, 2020, immediately.

During the current pandemic crisis, courts in countries around the world have had to suspend their regular operations and have focused only on the most urgent and time-sensitive matters. Yet the first few online courts have been able to maintain regular service. This has led to a massive increase in interest in and awareness of online dispute resolution (ODR) and online courts among judges, arbitrators, mediators, and lawyers in general. The pandemic has highlighted the ability of ODR to keep operating in crises that impact physical operations. Suddenly Zoom and even email are being considered ODR technology because they enable online court proceedings and distant mediations.

There is a question circulating on the Internet right now: Who led the digital transformation of your company? Possible answers are: a) CEO; b) CTO; c) COVID-19. Which answer is correct?

In February, the EU Commission issued its new White Book on Artificial Intelligence – a European Approach to Excellence and Trust. The White Book is the prelude to a new EU regulatory framework for AI that aims to minimize the risks of AI and seize the opportunities it offers.

On October 22, 2019, the Slovak parliament adopted Act No. 390/2019 Coll. (the “Amendment”), which significantly amends the Slovak Commercial Code as well as some other acts. Most of the Amendment’s provisions will come into effect on October 1, 2020.

On March 11, 2020, CEE Legal Matters reported that Kinstellar had advised Austria’s European City Estates – a group of companies owned by the Austrian Humer Private Foundation – on its acquisition of the 22,000-square-meter Rosum office complex in Bratislava from Penta Real Estate, which was advised by Skubla & Partneri.

In March of 2019, relative unknown Zuzana Caputova won the Slovakian Presidential election, becoming the first woman and – at 45 – the youngest person ever to hold that office. With a background as an environmental lawyer and human rights activist, Caputova is largely viewed in Slovakia as a unifier, taking strong and reasonable approaches to even apparently intractable problems. Her success has inspired a degree of hope for the future from her former peers and colleagues in Slovakia’s legal community.

In 2009, deep in the throes of the global financial crisis, Mykola Stetsenko, a partner at Baker & McKenzie in Kyiv, stepped away from that secure position to start his own law firm. His ambitious move paid off, and now, eleven years later, the firm he launched – Avellum – is among the most successful and highly regarded in Ukraine.

2019 was an outstanding year for Ukrainian gas sector, as the country managed to complete the most critical parts of the unbundling of the gas transmission system in a timely manner. The year was also remarkable because, in twelve months, we saw three different unbundling models proposed by the Government, forcing the participants of the unbundling process and the key stakeholders to quickly adapt to the new rules and scenarios. For most of the year the country planned to implement an ownership unbundling model. However, in September 2019, before the third round of trilateral Ukraine-Russia-EU talks on gas transit, the unbundling plan took a U-turn, when the newly appointed Ukrainian Government, in its Resolution 840 (the “New Unbundling Resolution”), decided to switch to the independent system operator (ISO) model.

Under the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement of June 27, 2014, Ukraine undertook to harmonize its legislation with EU law by 2023, including the regulatory framework for IP. Subsequently, in February 2020, the Parliament of Ukraine adopted a long-awaited set of draft IP protection laws (the “Draft Laws”), which are likely to have a significant impact on companies doing business in Ukraine, as well as on the measures which may be taken by businesses in connection with IP commercialization.

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?”

A CEELM Profile of Daniel Szabo, Central Europe Team Lead at Hewlett Packard Enterprise in Budapest.

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.

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