This brings important changes with significant juridical implications for the entire population. We have highlighted several general aspects to consider:
Contracts financed from European funds may be suspended
According to the Decree by which the state of emergency was declared, the beneficiaries of European funds who are affected by these emergency measures may decide, together with management authorities/intermediary bodies, to suspend financing agreements.
This measure is welcome given that any financing agreement from European funds requires a strict implementation period in which expenses are considered to be eligible and in which payment/reimbursement requests are accepted. Given that the economy is currently slowed down by the effects of emergency measures underway, there would be a high risk that the beneficiaries of the European funds are unable to fulfil their obligations accordingly.
The Ministry of Economy, Energy and Business Environment shall issue Certificates for Emergency Situations. These will be issued pursuant to a request from affected economic operators and based on supporting documentation.
The validity of documents issued by public authorities which expire during the state of emergency is maintained. Types of documents which may benefit from such prolongation include: identity cards, passports, urbanism certificates, other certificates etc.
Prices may be capped for medicines and medical equipment, essential groceries and public utility services (such as electric and thermal energy, gas, water supply, sanitation, fuels etc.). The cap will be limited to the average price registered in the three months preceeding the date when the state of emergency was declared.
Employment and social protection:
Work from home/telework may be established by employers unilaterally. This right has been conferred to both public and private entities.
Inspections from the Territorial Labour Inspectorate have been suspended. The only exemptions are deeds with a high risk for social danger and the investigation of workplace accidents.
The validity of collective labour agreements and collective agreements is maintained during the state of emergency.
Statutes of limitation and time limits do not start to run/are suspended
The Decree establishes that the provisions of article 2532, pct. 9, the second para. of the Civil code, or any other provisions to the contrary are not applicable.
Article 2532, pct. 9, second para. of the Civil code, allows for the suspension of the statute of limitation on temporary force majeure grounds only if the force majeure event has occurred in the last six months before the expiry of the statute of limitation.
Consequently, it seems that the measure of suspension is applicable irrespective of the date on which the statute of limitation would have expired.
Civil lawsuits are suspended for the duration of the state of emergency. Court cases that are extremely urgent are exempted.
Deadlines for means of appeal are interrupted (for suspended civil lawsuits). New deadlines, for the same duration, shall start to run from the date on which the state of emergency ceases. If an appeal has already been declared, the file shall be forwarded to the jurisdictional court after the end of the state of emergency.
We expect that all these matters, as well as other aspects provided by the Decree, will impact the activity of companies that are doing business in Romania. Schoenherr si Asociatii SCA has a dedicated taskforce covering COVID-19-related legal issues. Our specialised lawyers are closely following any potential implications of the current particular legal framework, with an aim to identify optimal solutions for companies to react.
This article is part of our coronavirus-focused legal updates – visit our coronavirus info corner to get more info!