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Eisenberger & Herzog, in cooperation with the London office of Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy, has advised a group of creditors of Steinhoff Holdings’ subsidiary Hemisphere Properties on its sale of Kika/Leiner property assets in Austria and several other CEE countries to the Signa Group. Steinhoff was counseled by Fellner Wratzfeld & Partner and Gleiss Lutz, and Hemisphere was advised by Clifford Chance and Wolf Theiss. The Signa Group was advised by Arnold, while Kika/Leiner was represented by Schoenherr, Urbanek Lind Schmied Reisch, and Preslmayr.

A new buzzword has reached the Real Estate world and its service providers, including the legal community: “PropTech.” PropTech – or “Property Technology” – is simply shorthand for various IT applications that are specifically designed to address the needs of the real estate industry.

“Since 2017 the real estate market in Austria has been quite steady, and we’ve seen a lot of cash inflow and a lot of demand ⎯ in particular for offices,” reports Birgit Kraml, Partner in Wolf Theiss Vienna’s Real Estate & Construction team. She adds that yields are rather low, with four percent considered good.

More than two years ago a new system for examining trademark applications was introduced in Poland. The purpose of the so-called “opposition system” was to adapt Polish regulations to EU and international regulations and the jurisprudence of the EU Court of Justice.

While no more applications for Micro Projects (those below 0.5MW) can be submitted under Hungary’s very generous mandatory off-take system since the end of April 2018, the Government  seems to have acknowledged that the projects already licensed under the subsidy regime may not be physically implemented within the strict deadlines set forth in the original legislation. Therefore, it is now possible for entities that applied for licenses after January 1, 2016 to ask for a three- years extension to complete their projects without any sanction. This is good news for license-owners and potential investors, as they have a reasonable amount of time to manage the relatively burdensome permitting proceedings and can also secure project finance. This is also good news for the Hungarian state budget because the first heavy payments to the projects under the mandatory off-take system will be delayed by a few more years.

The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation is, according to the EU-hosted GDPR website, “the most important change in data privacy regulation in the past 20 years.” The Act, which was approved by the EU Parliament on April 14, 2016 and will become fully effective on May 25, 2018, was designed “to harmonize data privacy laws across Europe, to protect and empower all EU citizens’ data privacy, and to reshape the way organizations across the region approach data privacy.”

Unlike those of its neighbours to the East, Austria’s economy was allowed to operate free of communist interference, allowing the country to hit well above its weight, comparatively-speaking. Thus, although Austria is the 11th biggest country in CEE in population, with 8.7 million people, it has the third largest economy, behind only Russia and Poland. And these days, with the global financial crisis now firmly in the rearview mirror, the country is once again able to capitalize on its happy geographical positioning and historical relationship with the former members of the Austro-Hungarian empire.

In The Corner Office we ask Managing Partners at law firms across the region important questions about their unique roles and responsibilities. The question this time around: What was your favorite course in law school, and why?

CMS Prague has announced that Libor Prokes was promoted to Partner on May 1, 2018. Prokes focuses on real estate transactional work, including property sales and acquisitions, as well as leasing and constructions matters.

Update on Hungary's solar boom – significant benefit to photovoltaic projects licensed under mandatory offtake system upon applications submitted before 2017.

The western Balkan countries of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, Serbia, and the Republic of Macedonia share the desire to join the European Union. Two of these countries — Albania and Macedonia — are particularly close to accession. we spoke to several lawyers to learn more about how accession could affect the business landscape and the work of lawyers in the two countries.

Kosovo declared its independence on February 17, 2008, nine years after the 1999 conclusion of its conflict with Serbia, during which time it operated under the protection of the United Nation Mission in Kosovo. The post-war climate in the country was full of hopes for new beginnings, and in 2008 the newly sovereign state began the process of establishing effective and fair legislation, developing an independent economy, and building a protective environment for its citizens. 

In The Corner Office, we invite Managing Partners at law firms from across the region to share information about their careers, management styles, and strategies. Our question this time: “What mistake do young associates commonly make that is most frustrating for you?”