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Hot Practice in Serbia: Jelena Gazivoda on JPM's Energy Practice

Hot Practice in Serbia: Jelena Gazivoda on JPM's Energy Practice

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Energy has been Jankovic Popovic Mitic’s busiest practice, according to Senior Partner Jelena Gazivoda, mainly driven by Serbia’s long-standing aspiration to achieve energy stability and security of supply and bolstered by recent legislative amendments and the expected energy crisis caused by the war in Ukraine.

"At the moment, when it comes to the stability of the energy sector and security of supply, Serbia is completely dependent on one supplier, Russia," Gazivoda begins. Still, work is being done to change that, with the firm providing regulatory, commercial, and construction advice on a number of "big energy projects that have been implemented since 2018," she says, highlighting "one of the biggest energy projects being implemented in Serbia, related to the construction of the Serbian section of Turkish Stream, ensuring Serbia's interconnection with the adjoining natural gas transmission system operators from Bulgaria and Hungary."

"In addition to the natural gas projects, there is substantial interest from clients and operators with regard to solar and wind powerplant-related projects," Gazivoda notes. According to her, some of these projects were launched even earlier than 2017-2018 but were later put on hold, due to very unfavorable legislation. "However, last year’s amendments of the Energy Law, as well as the adoption of new legislation governing the utilization of renewable resources, enhanced the implementation of green energy projects, which changed the scene a lot," she says.

The updated legislative framework, according to Gazivoda, contributed to accelerated activity in the energy sector. "Serbia has accepted to align with the EU green agenda, through a set of multilateral agreements, all aimed to switch to green energy and decrease the consumption of coal, foster decarbonization and the use of renewable or less carbon-intensive fuels," she says. "To support the overall process, Serbia has been improving the legislative framework to follow the best practices adopted by the EU. We have implemented a number of different initiatives and obligations deriving from multinational treaties."

Gazivoda says that the overall developments related to the war in Ukraine also had an impact on Serbian firms’ activities since they significantly affected the delivery of energy, both in terms of boosting prices and a significant extension of deadlines in supply. "Our Energy practice has been very busy for a long time, but the past few months accelerated the activities in that field, both in terms of finalization of previously commenced projects and thinking about the projects on alternative sources of energy, mainly those related to renewable resources," she says.

As for the future, Gazivoda notes that "it is difficult to predict, as the situation is quite complicated considering the context in the last two months. The energy sector has been directly affected, as a result of increasing energy prices, which have been mirrored in every aspect of our lives. The implementation of some energy projects has been paused. For now, all we know is that these projects are delayed, they are not yet canceled."

Finally, one of the interesting developments in the energy sector, according to Gazivoda, could be nuclear energy, still considered only an idea. "While there are nuclear plants in the region, there is hesitancy in Serbia to invest in nuclear energy. However, as the country is becoming oriented toward energy independence, we expect developments in this sector, as well, in the upcoming period," she concludes.

Serbia Knowledge Partner

Committed to redefining a law firm's role in an emerging regional market, Gecić Law is a full-service law firm that advises international and local clients from the public and private sectors in navigating the complex legal landscape of the region across multiple practice areas. Members of the Gecić Law team have graduated from leading universities in the US and Europe. They have extensive local and international experience, with a particular focus on EU regulatory frameworks and international trade and a proven track record in providing innovative and practical solutions in the most complex of matters.

Gecić Law is an exclusive member of two leading global alliances, TerraLex and TAGLaw, extending its international footprint. The firm and its lawyers have continuously been recognized in several practice areas by elite global directories, including The Legal 500, Chambers and Partners and Benchmark Litigation. Gecić Law was named Law Firm of the Year: South Eastern Europe 2021 and Law Firm of the Year: Eastern Europe and the Balkans 2020 at The Lawyer European Awards and was repeatedly nominated in other practice areas.

For more details, please visit geciclaw.com.


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