Aside from Croatia entering the Euro and Schengen zones, there have been numerous other legislative updates of note – primarily in the spheres of labor and land rights – according to Miroslav Plascar, Co-Managing Partner of Zuric i Partneri in cooperation with Kinstellar.
“First of all, with the euro being introduced as the official currency, the entire market started feeling immediate changes,” Plascar begins. “Most of these changes are most acutely reflected by Companies Act amendments – expectedly, all legal entities must now amend their articles of association and all bylaws so as to denominate share capital and the like in euros instead of kuna.” As he explains, a time frame of a couple of years was introduced within which these changes were manded to be made, “but these term limits are likely to be annulled seeing as how big of a change it will be for companies – they could incur significant costs.”
Moreover, the Croatian labor legal framework was amended to more accurately reflect the “post-COVID-19 state of affairs. Primarily, changes were introduced to regulate remote work and home office but also fixed term agreements, salaries, probation work, and others,” Plascar explains. In addition, he reports there has been a change to the rules regulating attorney compensation. “The base price of one point, which is used to determine the prices of an attorney’s work, has jumped from HRK 10 to HRK 15 – after 18 years. With this being the first change since 2004, it has been a long time coming,” he says, adding that it is “sure to impact the work of every lawyer in the country, especially when it comes to official billable actions.”
Additionally, Plascar highlights an important and major update to the agricultural legal framework. “A significant change has been introduced to remove the existing moratorium on agricultural land acquisition by non-Croatian citizens and entities. The ban will be lifted on June 30, 2023, thus ending the moratorium which has so far prevented the selling of state and privately-owned land to foreign citizens,” he reports. This amendment is, according to him, “crucial because there are strong indications of existing investor interest among EU citizens and entities for acquiring land in Croatia as a strategic asset.” Also, he stresses another change which the amendments introduced, that of “the Croatian state having the right of first refusal for any and all agricultural land transactions.”
Finally, Plascar comments on another essential change for Croatia – its entry into the Schengen zone. “Starting from the beginning of 2023, all Croatian citizens can now freely travel within the Schengen zone. This opening up, coupled with the eurozone entry, is sure to increase the levels of cooperation with other EU member states, for example, in terms of criminal law cooperation,” he says. “Moreover, this will lead to an uptick in legal work, following the inevitable increase of EU-related cooperation bandwidth,” Plascar concludes.