“Ukraine is a very vibrant place to be in, both for life and business,” says Redcliffe Partners Managing Partner Olexiy Soshenko. “In particular, after the Revolution of Dignity in 2014, there have been many changes and reforms.” He cites Ukraine’s policies on energy self-sustainability, currency control, upcoming elections, and extension of the land sale moratorium as particularly deserving of attention.
According to Oleg Efrim, the Managing Partner at Moldova’s Efrim Rosca Asociatii law firm, the primary topic of interest at the moment in the Moldovan legal community is the country’s newly modernized Civil Code which will become effective on March 1, 2018. According to Efrim, the new Code will be a significant upgrade to the existing law, which entered into force in 2003 as the country’s first following the fall of the Soviet Union. “It’s a substantial amendment,” Efrim reports, pointing out that the number of articles is increasing from the existing 1624 to 2671, and he says that "it is, indeed, a modernization of the Code.”
"Two major things are happening right now which are the focus of our practice: The Tech Industry and Chinese Investors,” says Ivan Nonkovic, Partner and independent attorney at law in cooperation with Karanovic & Partners in Belgrade. "Both things are happening all over the region,” he concedes, ”so not exclusively in Serbia, but they’re definitely significant here too."
We’re still in the aftermath of the general elections that occurred in October of 2018,” says Andrea Zubovic-Devedzic, Partner at CMS in Sarajevo, who describes the elections as “ the biggest topic in 2018.” According to Zubovic-Devedzic, “there was a lot of wait-and-see before the elections. The hope was the government would be formed quickly and things would pick up. But unfortunately that hasn’t happened yet, and we’re still waiting.”
Lawyers in Belarus have been active in recognizing the potential of blockchain and the crypto-industry, says Sorainen Belarus Country Managing Partner Kiryl Apanasevich. “Belarus has been promoting blockchain culture over the last couple of years and adopted new legislation on the subject a year ago,” he says, referring to the country's Decree No. 8 on the Development of the Digital Economy that came into effect in March 2018.
“Agrokor is still in the center of everyone’s interest,” reports Vjekoslav Ivancic, Partner at Croatia's Ostermann & Partners. “Not as much as it was previously, of course. But now the settlement of Agrokor is being implemented.” Ivancic says that “it’s definitely going to be a challenge. But all sides are keen to settle this, as was the purpose of the Lex Agrokor in the first place.”
Recently-introduced reforms to the Czech Code of Civil Procedure, the country’s new Act on Insurance Distribution, and the Istanbul Convention on Domestic Violence are among the topics Czech lawyers are most commonly discussing at the moment, according to Kocian Solc Balastik Partner Sylvie Sobolova.
Christoph Moser, Partner at Weber & Co., says that Austria is not currently facing any changes that would equal the impact of the GDPR. Instead, Moser reports, the current government in Austria is focusing on implementing the measures that were promised during the run-up to the country’s 2017 elections, including regulations related to rules for employees. Among the most prominent examples of this, Moser says, is the new rule allowing 12-hour workdays that was introduced this summer. The change according to Moser, "is significant and caused political debates about whether a 12-hour work day was justified, as well as protests.
Nazan Diri Bal, Managing Partner at Diri Legal in Istanbul, reflects on the turbulence of the last six months in Turkey. "There was a slowdown in the market before the June elections," she recalls, "and post-election things remained quiet for a short time, which was followed by dramatic overshooting in exchange rates, resulting in further discomfort in the market. At the beginning, no immediate actions or measures were observed, which caused fears that it was unstoppable. This affected everyone. The lira plunged to a record low, and everyone began moving very cautiously.”