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The fifth anniversary of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in Croatia has ushered in an unforeseen and substantial transformation in the sphere of data protection. This notable shift is characterized by a surge in enforcement actions led by the Croatian data privacy watchdog, commonly known as the Personal Data Protection Agency (DPA – in Croatian AZOP). In stark contrast to the relatively quiet initial three years following the enactment of the GDPR (2018-2021) in Croatia, 2023 has become a turning point, witnessing a seismic shift in Croatian data protection enforcement.

Ukrainian civilian infrastructure, particularly its vital components such as energy facilities and seaports, was heavily targeted by Russian missile strikes, causing severe damage. Combined damage to civilian infrastructure and energy industries already exceeds USD 50 billion. Since the beginning of hostilities, 18 airports, at least 344 bridges and overpasses, and over 25,000 kilometers of roads were damaged.

Large energy companies are taking measures to become green in order to meet targets to reduce carbon emissions. The main stakeholders – investors, customers, rating agencies, and regulators – are pushing energy companies to set more environmental, social, and governance goals publicly. For these companies, the “E” in ESG should be the foundation of their strategy.

As Ukraine is fighting off the brutal invasion by the Russian Federation, the Ukrainian M&A market is at its lowest point, at least in terms of the number of deals, since 2000. Still, interesting trends are emerging and there is great hope for a bright future.

The reconstruction of Ukraine – critical infrastructure, housing, hospitals, and social facilities – is already underway. This major effort has been significantly assisted by international support. Ukraine’s commitment to transparency, coupled with specific regulations under martial law, has been instrumental in achieving this progress.

As the full-scale war continues into the second year, Ukrainian companies are facing unprecedented difficulties with attracting capital which is desperately needed to restore their day-to-day business operations and production halted by the military aggression. Predictably, international debt capital markets remain inaccessible not only to Ukrainian private borrowers but also to sovereign entities. The unpleasant situation worsens with high costs of borrowing, which have skyrocketed even more for Ukrainian borrowers since the outbreak of the war due to unsustainable country risk.

CEE Legal Matters invited me to write about “lawyering in CEE.” My “lawyering” in the region started on January 2, 2000, when I was a young graduate working in Vienna for clients with business in the Czech Republic and Slovakia, and soon I was sent to Prague, and Bratislava. Over time, I witnessed not only economic booms and crises and political and economic transformations but also changes in the legal market and how law firms work.

In The Inside Track, General Counsels across CEE share the nuances of their roles, challenges, and strategies for success. Given the importance of relationships between in-house legal departments and law firms, this time we asked GCs: What is the most common reason for which you cease working with a specific law firm and what would you suggest firms definitely do to ensure they do not make the same mistake?

In The Corner Office, we ask Managing Partners at law firms across Central and Eastern Europe about their backgrounds, strategies, and responsibilities. With 2023 marching to an end, we looked ahead and asked about strategies for next year: As the budgeting period is around the corner, compared to 2023, what are the main budgeting lines you expect to increase for 2024 and why?

With artificial intelligence dominating tech conversations over the last year and with a draft AI Act being looked at by the EU, CMS Partners Dora Petranyi, Gabriela Staber, Klaus Pateter, and Olga Belyakova look at where AI is today and how European legislation might impact its future.

Looking into the historical context of Scandinavian foreign direct investment in the Baltic states, TGS Baltic Managing Partner Ivars Grunte, Walless Partner Rolan Jankelevitsh, Ellex Valiunas Partner Ruta Pumputiene, and Klauberg Baltics Managing Partner Theis Klauberg explore the economic and legal ties between the two regions.

While Lithuania’s fintech sector has emerged as a European powerhouse, the number of licensed companies has been decreasing, indicating a shift towards a more quality-focused approach. Cobalt Partner Akvile Bosaite, Motieka Head of Financial Services and Compliance Sigita Zavisiene, and Walless Partner Joana Baublyte-Kulviete take stock of the sector.

After several years working for law firms and on major energy projects, Gabija Kuncyte has been with Compensa Life Vienna Insurance Group’s Lithuanian Branch as a Legal and Compliance Officer for over a year and a half. She discusses the evolution of in-house legal positions and the nuances of the legal industry in the Baltic region.

An in-depth look at Dace Silava-Tomsone of Cobalt covering her career path, education, and top projects as a lawyer as well as a few insights about her as a manager at work and as a person outside the office.

Here, we will look at the draft tax reforms proposed by the Government of the Republic of North Macedonia in 2022 (Tax Reforms) that aims to ensure a fair, efficient, transparent, and modern tax system.

At the end of May 2023, the Austrian Ministry of Finance issued a new draft law. The Start-Up Promotion Act is intended to create a new regulation for start-up employee shareholdings that should apply to shares surrendered on or after January 1, 2024.

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