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Neuerliche Anhebung der EU-Schwellenwerte für europaweite Vergabeverfahren
Nach der letzten Anpassung im Jänner 2022 werden die Schwellenwerte für EU-weite Vergabeverfahren mit 1. Jänner 2024 neuerlich angehoben. Mit den am 16.11.2023 veröffentlichen delegierten Verordnungen der Europäischen Kommission "2023/2495", "2023/2496", "2023/2497" und "2023/2510" wurden folgende Anhebung der Schwellenwerte bekannt gemacht:
Serbia: Will FAC-1 resolve issues in FIDIC multiparty contracts in the Eastern Balkans?
In recent years we have seen major infrastructure projects in the Eastern Balkans, ordinarily based on International Federation of Consulting Engineers (FIDIC) standards, face significant delays and impediments due to complex decision-making processes. Such projects have for a long time exceeded a structure that encompasses only the contractor, employer and engineer. They now include financiers (international institutions or other funds), beneficiaries and authorities, so the project structure and procurement have become even more challenging.
Equal rights for wines and glasses: EU extends protection of Geographical Indications to craft and industrial products
We can all think of names like Champagne or Feta cheese that are intrinsically linked to the geographical origin of a product and the know-how of its producers, often passed on over many generations. While many of these Geographical Indications (short: GIs) concern wines, spirits, foodstuffs and other agricultural products, the qualities attributed to specific local skills and traditions can also relate to non-agricultural products, such as jewellery, cutlery, glass, porcelain, textiles, lace, natural stones, woodwork, or hides and skins.
Significant changes expected to Hungary's online accommodation booking market
The Hungarian Competition Authority (HCA) recently published a draft report on its findings based on an accelerated sector inquiry into Hungary's online accommodation booking market. The sector inquiry was launched on 24 August 2023 after the HCA received numerous complaints during the peak summer holiday season about the practices of Booking.com, a key market player, for withholding payments to accommodation providers.
Novelties in Hungarian competition law - 2023
Some significant amendments to the Hungarian Competition Act have entered into force. The Hungarian Competition Authority (HCA) has been very active recently in various sectors. This summary briefly describes the most important changes. Some of the changes require an update to the compliance materials for Hungary.
Offshore wind parks: a glimpse into Montenegro's future
The world has seen a significant shift towards sustainable energy sources in recent years. One of the most promising and rapidly growing sectors in the renewable energy industry is offshore wind parks. These structures that use the power of wind over the open seas are quickly gaining popularity as part of the global effort to combat climate change. This article will explore the global trend of offshore wind parks and shed light on Montenegro's potential in this eco-friendly energy source with a special focus on fixed-bottom wind parks.
Romania introduces massive tax changes
Unable to keep its budget deficit under control, Romania announced a comprehensive package of tax measures earlier this year aimed at ensuring the country's long-term financial sustainability. These much-debated changes, which have polarised public opinion and were subject to claims of unconstitutionality, were eventually passed in October.
Have ESG ratings hit the Polish market?
ESG ratings are all the rage these days, especially in the Polish banking sector. But there is still no one-size-fits-all methodology supervised by, for example, the European Banking Association. Instead, multiple rating institutions such as MSCI, Morningstar Sustainalytics, S&P Global and Sustainable Fitch, assess companies on their environmental, corporate governance and social attributes.
Bulgaria soon to adopt an FDI screening regime (Updated to reflect the latest amendments to the FDI screening bill as of the date of publication)
Bulgaria is one of the few remaining EU countries that have not yet adopted a foreign direct investment (FDI) screening regime. This is about to change with the introduction in late June of a bill on the amendment of the Investment Promotion Act, implementing the screening mechanism under Regulation (EU) 2019/452 (the "EU FDI Screening Regulation"). See here for our previous Legal Insight.
Romania: Who (else) can claim the nullity of a share transfer?
Can one or more of a company's shareholders claim that a transfer of shares to third parties by other shareholders is null, even if the claimants were not interested in acquiring those shares? And when faced with such a claim, would Romanian courts rule in favour of the claimant? A recent court ruling has answered both questions with a resounding "yes", opening new horizons in M&A-related matters in Romania.
FSR's notification system in effect since 12 October 2023
Today marks a turning point for the EU's anti-subsidy regime. The Foreign Subsidies Regulation (FSR) will now become fully operational. As of 12 October 2023, the European Commission (EC) can review deals and tenders under the FSR’s M&A and public procurement tools. Businesses are now also able and, where applicable, required to submit notifications on transactions and tenders in public procurement procedures. In this edition of our series, we explain why today is so significant.
Easier way to switch from litigation to arbitration in Poland
While we were all enjoying the summer, new legislation amending the civil procedure came into force in Poland. Among many procedural details, one should not overlook a significant change – it is now easier to convert a dispute from litigation to arbitration.
Amendment to the Labour Code
The publicly discussed amendment to the Labour Code introduces a number of changes, in particular in the area of teleworking (work from home), agreements on employment performed outside the workplace, extended information obligations and service of documents. The amendment is set to come into force on 1 October 2023; only a limited part (holiday for contract workers) is set to come into force on 1 January 2024.
What changes will the Czech Republic's new preventive restructuring act bring to debtors and creditors?
After a delay of more than a year, an act on preventive restructuring (the "Act") implementing the EU directive on preventive restructuring frameworks finally became effective in the Czech Republic on 23 September 2023. The long-awaited Act introduces a brand-new legal tool preventing the insolvency of viable enterprises in temporary financial distress.
Bridging the gap between Serbian regulations and the GDPR: Serbia's Data Protection Strategy unveiled
In late August 2023, at the initiative of Serbia's Data Protection Commissioner (the "Commissioner"), the Government of Serbia adopted the Data Protection Strategy for the 2023-2030 period (the "Strategy"). The previous strategic document in this field was adopted in 2010 and did not make the anticipated impact, as neither the action plan nor the working group for its enforcement were established. As vast technological changes and increase in data processing happened in the meantime, the latest Strategy intends to pave the way to future changes of data protection regulation in Serbia by providing goals and mechanisms for their implementation. The most relevant goals and mechanisms are outlined below.
German Supply Chain Due Diligence Act: implications for Serbian companies and supply chain
The German Supply Chain Due Diligence Act is a major advancement in the supply chain network, improving international human rights and environmental standards across the board. It focuses on issues of child labour, health and safety standards, and the role of trade unions, and will have substantial effects on all relevant parties concerned due to its scope and importance. For instance, the Act bans all sorts of conduct from discrimination to forced labour. Serbia in particular will be considerably impacted, since Germany is the country's largest trade partner. This article will therefore examine the nature of the Act and its implications for Serbia's companies and supply chain.
Private enforcement of the Foreign Subsidies Regulation
Regulation 2022/2560 ("FSR") aims to ensure a level playing field in the internal market. Understandably, a fair chance to compete on the internal market is not only in the interest of the EU, but also of market participants. Those that are disadvantaged by subsidies granted to their competitors may be expected to look for avenues to ensure that the FSR is enforced to its full potential.
Romania: Changes ahead for investment firms
The Romanian Financial Supervisory Authority (FSA) released for public consultation a draft regulation proposing amendments to its Regulation 5/2019 applicable mainly to investment firms and, in limited cases, to credit institutions providing investment services and/or activities and alternative fund managers.
20 September 2023
Serbia: How can corporate reputation be protected?
Corporate reputation is an organisation's most valuable intangible resource and may be defined as the public perception of the company and how it operates. It has its monetary expression and influences financial and social capital as well as market share. It can be positive and negative. Reputation is an essential aspect of any business. In today's digital age, a company's reputation can be easily tarnished through websites, social media, online reviews and news articles.
Do your customers know that your website is tracking them?
Many local enterprises use ad management and marketing tools from tech giants like Meta (formerly known as Facebook), TikTok and Google (Meta Pixel, TikTok Pixel, Google Analytics), enabling them to reach their intended audience more effectively and track visitor activity on their websites. You cannot find a marketing professional today who would not suggest at least one of these services to their clients.
Electronic notarisation in Moldova
On 26 May 2023 the Parliament of Moldova passed Law No.°126, which among other things implements certain novelties to the Moldovan Law on Notarial Procedure. Those relating to electronic notarisation will enter into force when the technical conditions referred to in the law are in place, but not later than 23 June 2026.
Are gift cards money in Poland?
Gift cards have become more and more popular. They are bought as presents and some shops have a return policy where items bought physically can be exchanged only for a gift card of the equivalent amount. Are gift cards therefore to be regarded as money in Poland? If so, are the issuers required to obtain authorisation as a payment or electronic money institution?
Romania: DRS packaging to go live soon
The implementation of the deposit return system ("DRS") for bottled water, soft drinks, beer, cider, wine and spirits ("DRS products") in disposable plastic, glass or metal packaging of between 0.1l and 3l, will kick-off on 30 November 2023. As of that date, Romanians will be able to return the packaging of these beverages to the reverse vending machines provided by retailers or producers, as per the legal provisions.
The FSR general tool
On 12 July 2023 the general or ex officio tool of the FSR became applicable. The tool empowers the European Commission (EC) to investigate cases where foreign subsidies are suspected of having a distortive effect on the EU's internal market, even if they do not fall within the scope of the other two FSR tools (M&A tool and public procurement tool). This gives the EC a powerful instrument to tackle market distortions from subsidies granted by third countries.
Transposition of EU Restructuring / Second Chance Directive in Bulgaria: problems with new ipso facto prohibitions under commercial and financial transactions
"Bulgaria transposed the Restructuring Directive's prohibition to terminate contracts via ipso facto clauses, but also (deviating from the Directive) prohibited contractual set-off in restructuring, thus rendering the preservation of many contracts performed via contractual set-off / netting of payment meaningless. So, in drafting ipso facto clauses the impossibility to perform contracts in restructuring, due to the contractual set-off prohibition, may be utilised as an additional trigger for termination, now".
Redefining Montenegrin Spatial Planning and Construction Regulations
Montenegro intends to implement a profound shift in its spatial planning and construction regulations with the pending adoption of three distinct legal acts that will regulate the country’s spatial planning, the construction of facilities, and legalisation procedures.
Romania: Flavoured heated tobacco products soon to become history
Two months from now, the sale of flavoured heated tobacco products will be banned in Romania. Recent legislative changes aimed at aligning the country's laws with those of the European Union extend the prohibition of flavoured tobacco products from cigarettes and roll-your-own tobacco to heated tobacco products. Producers and traders will thus need to review not only their stocks, but also their labelling obligations when placing heated tobacco products on the market.
Changes in EU emissions trading: on the road to climate neutrality
The European Union has adopted far-reaching reforms to the EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) to meet its ambitious target of reducing net greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55 % by 2030. These reforms are part of the "Fit for 55" package and are intended to play a central role in combating climate change. Below we provide a brief overview of the measures adopted and their national implementation.
Änderungen im EU-Emissionshandel: Auf dem Weg zur Klimaneutralität
Die Europäische Union hat weitreichende Reformen im EU-Emissionshandelssystem (EU-ETS) beschlossen, um ihr ehrgeiziges Ziel einer Reduktion der Netto-Treibhausgasemissionen bis 2030 um mindestens 55% zu erreichen. Diese Reformen sind Teil des "Fit for 55"-Pakets und sollen eine zentrale Rolle bei der Bekämpfung des Klimawandels spielen. Nachstehend geben wir einen kurzen Überblick über die beschlossenen Maßnahmen und die nationale Umsetzung.
Cutting Red Tape: Serbia's Simplified Permit Procedure for Foreign Employees
On 4 August 2023, the latest amendments to the Serbian Law on Foreigners and Law on Employment of Foreigners entered into force, with the most significant amendments taking effect starting from 1 February 2024.
Embracing Change: Serbia's Latest Amendments to the Planning and Construction Act
Change is a constant, and usually completely natural in the world of legislation. Serbia's recent amendments to the Planning and Construction Act are most definitely no different. These amendments were voted upon and adopted on 26 July 2023 and came into force on 4 August 2023.
Bulgaria soon to adopt an FDI screening regime
Bulgaria is among a minority of EU countries that have not yet adopted a foreign direct investment (FDI) screening regime. This is about to change with the introduction in late June of a bill on the amendment of the Investment Promotion Act, implementing the screening mechanism under Regulation (EU) 2019/452.
Hungary launches new CfD support scheme targeting electricity storage operators
On 14 August 2023 the Hungarian Government issued Gov. Decree 382/2023 ("Decree") establishing the legal framework for the implementation and functioning of the new Contracts for Difference ("CfD") support scheme for electricity storage operators ("Storage CfD Scheme").
Romania launches new renewables CfD support scheme targeting 5 GW of onshore wind and solar capacities
Romania is on the verge of introducing a much-awaited new support scheme for renewable energy. On 7 August 2023, the Romanian Ministry of Energy launched for public consultations a draft decision approving the legal framework for the implementation and functioning of the Contracts for Difference ("CfD") support scheme for low-carbon technologies ("CfD Scheme").
Rethinking EU-US personal data transfers and their effect on transfers from Serbia
The European Commission adopted a new system for EU-US personal data transfers, the Data Privacy Framework (DPF), on 10 July 2023. Its enactment, the "adequacy decision", is set to replace the invalidated Privacy Shield after it faced heavy criticism in the Schrems ll ruling. This will be the third attempt to devise an adequate method to protect personal data transfers from companies in the EU to the US, and we are yet to see any improvement in practice.
The public procurement tool
The public procurement tool is intended to prevent foreign subsidies (as defined in Art. 3 FSR and outlined here) from distorting competition in the internal market. This happens when companies are able to submit unduly advantageous bids that drive competitors unsupported by state funds out of the market, for example because they are subject to the strict prohibition of intra-EU State aid under Art. 107(1) TFEU. The need to counteract market-distorting subsidies from third countries is "particularly pronounced" in public procurement, since public contracts are financed with taxpayers' money.
Major legislative changes in Hungary's pharma and food industry
Significant legal changes occurred in the Hungarian pharmaceutical and food industry in the summer of 2023. According to Government Decree No. 333/2023. (VII. 20.), as of 1 August 2023, the National Public Health Centre (NNK) and the National Institute of Pharmacy and Nutrition (OGYÉI) merged, establishing a new authority, the National Centre for Public Health and Pharmacy (Nemzeti Népegészségügyi és Gyógyszerészeti Központ, NNGYK).
Green loans may be Hungary's path to sustainable financing
In the world of finance, the rise of environmental, social and governance considerations has compelled bankers, investment professionals and banking and finance lawyers to reevaluate their mindset.
Hungary: Financing for Agriculture
Hungary’s agricultural sector has a rich historical tradition but faces challenges due to insufficient financing. The European Union’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) provides funding for farm restructuring and market support, while Hungarian farmers can seek financing from banks and cooperatives. The Hungarian government has also established various programs to provide financing for agriculture, including subsidies or machinery and technology investments and funding for training.
Romania: How does the Mobility Directive change the M&A framework?
EU Directive 2019/2121 (also known as the "Mobility Directive") aims to create a reinforced framework for cross-border operations while ensuring the protection of employees, creditors and minority shareholders in the internal market.
New Law on Employment of Foreign Workers in Hungary
On 13 June 2023, the Hungarian Parliament adopted a new law regulating the employment of foreign workers. The law introduces the concept of guest workers (third-country nationals from countries outside the EEA and from non-neighbouring countries) and establishes guidelines for their employment in Hungary.
Third time's the charm? EU-US Data Privacy Framework revamped and reloaded
On 10 July 2023, the European Commission adopted an adequacy decision for a lawful data transfer from the EU to the USA for the third time.  This means that personal data may again be lawfully transferred to the US. This will facilitate the use of US service providers for EU companies.
Payment Services Directive 3 – Shaping the path for future payments in the EU
On 28 April 2023 the European Commission ("Commission") put forth a proposal (Link) to revise Directive (EU) 2015/2366 (Payment Services Directive, "PSD2"), which was adopted on the EU level in 2015 and transposed into Austrian law by the Payment Services Act (Zahlungsdienstegesetz 2018 – ZaDiG 2018).
FSR becomes applicable today (12 July 2023)
In this edition in our series on the Foreign Subsidies Regulation (FSR), we focus on the significance of today's date – 12 July 2023. As of today, the FSR is applicable. But what does that actually mean?
The FSR's M&A tool
The so-called M&A tool is probably the most impactful element of the Foreign Subsidies Regulation (FSR), affecting many global and even local transactions. A first read of the FSR's provisions may give the incorrect impression that the tool covers only few large transactions, but its impact may be much more significant than this. Let us take a closer look at what to keep in mind when engaging in an M&A transaction process.
Navigating the foreign direct investment landscape: key changes and implications of the new Slovenian regime
Effective from 1 July 2023, a new foreign direct investment ("FDI") regime will come into effect in Slovenia, bringing significant changes to the scope and procedures surrounding FDI notifications.
Regulation of nicotine pouches in the Czech Republic
Nicotine pouches are small pouches or pads containing nicotine and no tobacco. They are placed under the lip so that the nicotine is absorbed into the body through the mucous membrane. This alternative to traditional tobacco products, especially cigarettes, has been growing in popularity in recent years.
Is the German Supply Chain Due Diligence Act relevant for Czech businesses?
The German Supply Chain Due Diligence Act (Lieferkettensorgfaltspflichtengesetz; "LkSG") is effective from 1 January 2023 for companies and branches based in Germany with more than 3,000 employees, with further extension to companies with more than 1,000 employees from 1 January 2024. Although a German law, the LkSG also affects the business partners of German companies under the scope of the LkSG located beyond the country's borders. As Czech companies are often primarily export-oriented – with Germany being the most important market – many Czech companies are already affected. This number will further increase in 2024.
Romania moves towards authorising cryptocurrency exchanges and digital wallet providers
Cryptocurrency, fiat currency exchange services and digital wallet providers could soon become authorised in Romania. This comes on the heels of the Ministry of Finance publishing a draft government decision that seeks to create the legal framework for the authorisation and operation of these service providers.
Czech Competition Authority blocks a merger: exception or start of new trend?
Last week, the Czech Competition Authority ("CCA") blocked an acquisition of part of První novinová společnost a.s. ("PNS") by Česká pošta, s.p. ("Czech Post"). While it is impossible to foresee the exact future of merger control enforcement in the Czech Republic, what is clear is that the CCA with this decision, whether intentionally or not, has sent a message to the market that it is ready to take the hardest line on a merger if it raises competition concerns. We summarize main details of the case and additional thoughts on its impact below.
Sustainability-linked loans in Hungary
Sustainability is crucial for ensuring the long-term wellbeing of the planet and future generations. It encompasses responsible practices that preserve natural resources, mitigate climate change, and promote social and economic balance, ultimately creating a harmonious and sustainable world for all.
What is a Foreign Subsidy?
Regulation (EU) 2022/2560 on Foreign Subsidies (the "FSR") aims to address distortions caused by foreign subsidies in the single market. In this part of our FSR Insight Series, we explain the fundamental notion of what constitutes a "foreign subsidy" within the meaning of the FSR. You will find a basic definition in Article 3 FSR, with some further considerations in recitals 11 to 16 of the Regulation.
Hot off the press: Romanian FDI regime formally extended to EU investors
The Romanian FDI regime has formally shifted to a stricter approach, with EU (including Romanian) investors now being specifically covered. We refer to Law No. 164/2023 (the "FDI Law") aimed at implementing and amending Emergency Government Ordinance No. 46/2022 ("EGO 46"), which was published in the Official Gazette of Romania on 7 June 2023.
A new addition to the Polish legal system: the family foundation
Starting on 22 May 2023, it will be possible to establish and register family foundations in Poland. The Polish legal system will thus be expanded by a new institution that allows assets to be accumulated and managed, and profits to be distributed to beneficiaries. The legislature wished to provide the means for family-owned businesses and their owners to engage in intergenerational wealth management and to grow their wealth over time while protecting it from dispersal to unrelated entities and persons. Hence, family foundations may serve as a means to retain and multiply a family's wealth, independent of inheritance law.
Commission proposes new directive to step up fight against corruption
While allegations of corruption continue to make headlines in Austria, the Ministry of Justice responded in January with draft legislation on the Corruption Law Amendment Act 2023.
EU: CJEU lowers threshold for GDPR damages
Last Thursday the Court of Justice of the European Union ("CJEU") issued a long awaited ruling on damages resulting from a data protection infringement (C-300/21). Since the Regulation (EU) 2016/679 (General Data Protection Regulation; "GDPR") came into force on 25 May 2018, claims for damages under Art 82 GDPR due to alleged data protection violations like unlawful data processing or incompliance with the GDPR as well as in the context of data breaches or leaks have been steadily increasing. The CJEU's recent ruling clarifies essential issues but raises just as many questions.
Austria: New Federal Electronic Announcement and Information Platform
The mandatory fee-based publication in the print medium of the Official Journal of the Wiener Zeitung (Amtsblatt der Wiener Zeitung) ("Official Journal") is going to be replaced by free-of-charge publication on the new Electronic Announcement and Information Platform of the Federation ("EVI").
Bulgaria: The new Whistleblower Protection Act enters into force
On 4 May 2023 the Bulgarian Act on the protection of persons who report or make public information on breaches (Закон за защита на лицата, подаващи сигнали или публично оповестяващи информация за нарушения, "Whistleblower Protection Act" or "WPA")1 adopted earlier this year enters into force, giving effect to the provisions of Directive (EU) 2019/19372 and imposing a number of obligations on employers in both the public and private sector.
Romania: Important developments in public procurement legislation
The Romanian public and sectoral procurement legislation has recently undergone several important changes aimed at clarifying certain provisions that used to be open to interpretation and/or have given rise to disputes in practice. The legislative novelties were introduced by the recently adopted Government Decision No. 336/19.04.2023, which amends the methodological rules for the application of the primary legislation governing these areas.
Serbia adopts ethics guidelines for artificial intelligence
On 23 March 2023, the Serbian government adopted Ethics Guidelines for the Development, Implementation and Use of Reliable and Responsible AI ("Guidelines"), which may be seen as yet another step in the process of harmonising Serbia's legislative framework with the European Union, following the Proposal for an AI Regulation announced by the EU Commission two years ago. The Guidelines largely rely on UNESCO's Recommendation on the Ethics of AI adopted in 2021, which Serbian representatives also helped create. Since the EU is awaiting its regulatory framework on AI, Serbia took the first step down this road as well.
Hungary's brand-new whistleblowing regime
On 11 April 2023, the Hungarian Parliament adopted a whistleblower protection act setting aside the previous one first adopted back in 2013. The new rules aim to finally transpose EU Directive 2019/1937 into the Hungarian legal system and impose substantial obligations on employers. The amendment will enter into force on the 60th day after its publication, which is expected in the upcoming days. This means that all employers concerned must be prepared to apply its new provisions during the summer.
Green finance in Hungary
The Central Bank of Hungary (MNB) is encouraging the banking sector to increase the level of green loans. To this end, significantly reduced capital requirements have been put in place when applying for loans, and green company bonds were introduced in summer 2020 as part of the MNB bond funding for growth scheme. The Hungarian government is now ready to intervene to achieve climate neutrality.
Slovakia: New regulation promoting sale of healthy food in Slovak schools
As of 15 March 2023, a new regulation on the sale of certain types of foods in schools was introduced by Decree of the Ministry of Health of the Slovak Republic No. 75/2023 Coll., on details of requirements for facilities for children and adolescents (the "Decree"). The aim of the regulation is to provide a nutritionally valuable range of food in school catering establishments, mainly fresh vegetables and fruit.
Gender equality in Hungarian workplaces
Gender equality in the workplace refers to the fair and equal treatment of individuals of different genders in all aspects of employment, including hiring, promotion, pay and job duties. Achieving gender equality is essential to creating a diverse, inclusive workplace that supports all employees.
HCA uses its powers to uncover roots of record-high food inflation
After the covid-19 pandemic, the EU economy is now being disrupted by the Russia-Ukraine conflict. The rising energy prices and disrupted supply chains have resulted in a further increase in inflation. According to the Hungarian Central Statistics Office, average inflation in Hungary was 24.5% in December 2022, the highest in the European Union. However, inflation of food products was even higher, reaching a staggering 44.8% year-on-year price increase by December 2022. This number is almost three times higher than the EU average.
Key developments in Austrian environment and climate change law in 2022: part two – case law
This article is part of a series on developments in Austrian environment and climate change law in 2022 and, in particular, focuses on case law developments. For further details on legislative developments see, "Key developments in Austrian environment and climate change law in 2022: part one – legislation".
Romania: Deadlock in sale of Romanian farmland outside buildable areas finally cleared
A two-and-a-half-year deadlock impeding the sale of Romanian farmland located outside buildable areas and acquired less than eight years ago seems to have been finally cleared. On 2 February 2023 a much-awaited normative act came into effect, filling a series of legislative gaps and allowing public notaries to authenticate sale agreements for certain types of farmland located outside buildable areas.
Czech Competition Authority opens food sector inquiry. How to prepare?
The Czech Competition Authority just announced that it will open a fast-track sector inquiry focused on the prices of four basic food items. While the items remain undisclosed, it is generally presumed that the inquiry follows political pressure regarding price increases of items like sugar, flour, butter, bread or milk. The focus of the inquiry will be on margins in all stages of the food supply chain. The Authority aims to identify why price increases in the four food items have even exceeded the latest inflation rates and whether there are unjustified margin increases on any level of the supply chain.
EU: The Unified Patent Court is alive!
A spectre is haunting Europe – the spectre of… the Unitary Patent. With Germany having deposited its ratification document on 17 February 2023, this spectre is finally coming to life: the European Patent with Unitary Effect ("Unitary Patent") and the Unified Patent Court ("UPC") system will enter their preparatory phase. The actual launch date (the date as of which Unitary Patents will be in effect and actions can be filed with the UPC) is set for 1 June 2023.
Erneuerbares-Gas-Gesetz (EGG) mit Déjà vu: Die Strafzahlung für Gasversorger und die daran anknüpfende Frage der Weiterverrechnung an Endkunden!
Am 15.02.2023 wurde der Begutachtungsentwurf zum Bundesgesetz über die Einführung einer Versorgerverpflichtung für Gas aus erneuerbaren Quellen veröffentlicht ("Erneuerbares-Gas-Gesetz-Entwurf" – "EGG-Entwurf"). Der EGG-Entwurf sieht die Verpflichtung von Gasversorgern vor, einen bestimmten Anteil der von ihnen verkauften Gasmengen durch erneuerbare Gase zu ersetzen. Kommen Gasversorger dieser Verpflichtung nicht nach, drohen Strafzahlungen in Form eines Ausgleichsbetrags, der von der Regulierungsbehörde (E-Control) durch Bescheid vorgeschrieben wird. Die Strafzahlungen könnten nicht nur Versorger, sondern letztlich auch deren Endkunden zu spüren bekommen.
Simplified procedure for constructing photovoltaic systems on rooftops in Bulgaria
The latest amendments to the Bulgarian Spatial Development Act introducing the simplified procedure for constructing photovoltaic systems on rooftops entered into force on 20 January 2023, easing the regime for the installation of small power plants.
Neugestaltung der Risikokomponente fondsgebundener Lebensversicherungen – wirklich?
Seit Jahren stellt sich vor allem in ertragsteuerlicher Hinsicht die Frage, wann bei fondsgebundenen Lebensversicherungen ein Versicherungsvertrag vorliegt. In der Vergangenheit waren wiederholt ausländische Versicherungsprodukte zur ertragsteuerlichen Beurteilung, ob es sich bei der Veranlagung um versicherungsfremdes Geschäft handelt, im Fokus. Allerdings stellt sich dieselbe Frage auch für inländische Versicherer aufgrund der Gleichbehandlung in- und ausländischer Versicherungsprodukte.
Romania: New obligations under the deposit-return system for beverages packaging
As detailed in this article, in 2021 Romania adopted its new legislative framework introducing a deposit-return system applicable to non-refillable primary packaging made of glass, plastic or metal with volumes between 0.1l and 3l inclusive, containing water, juice or alcoholic beverages ("DRS").
Producătorii și comercianții de băuturi în ambalaje primare nereutilizabile au noi obligații legale
Producătorii, importatorii și comercianții de băuturi ambalate în ambalaje primare nereutilizabile au noi obligații în cadrul sistemului de garanție-returnare („SGR”). Până la 28 februarie 2023, aceștia trebuie să se înregistreze în baza de date gestionată de către administratorul SGR, pentru a evita amenzile cuprinse între 4.000 și 10.000 EUR.
Schwellenwerteverordnung 2023 in Kraft getreten: Alles wieder beim Alten!
Die in § 12 bzw § 185 Bundesvergabegesetz 2018 ("BVergG 2018") normierten Schwellenwerte stellen die Grenze ("Schwelle") zwischen dem sog Oberschwellenbereich ("OSB") und dem Unterschwellenbereich ("USB") dar.
Bulgaria: Amendments to the packaging waste legislation
New amendments to the packaging waste legislation were promulgated in the 100th issue of the Bulgarian State Gazette dated 16 December 2022. The amendments are in the Ordinance on Packaging and Packaging Waste (the "Ordinance") and are officially in force as of 20 December 2022. We have summarised the most important amendments below:
Key developments in Austrian environment and climate change law in 2022: part one - legislation
2022 was a busy year marked by the late effects of the covid-19 pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine conflict. The latter has led to the rethinking of energy matters. Austrian legislation in 2022 was, therefore, characterised above all by new developments and amendments in energy law, with a focus on the expansion of renewable energy. This article is part of a series on developments in Austrian environment and climate change law in 2022 and, in particular, focuses on legislative developments.
Slovenia: New requirements for consumer-facing industries
The new Slovenian Consumer Protection Act (Zakon o varstvu potrošnikov; ZVPot-1; "CPA-1") became applicable on 26 January 2023. The act implements three EU directives, specifically Directive (EU) 2019/21611, Directive (EU) 2019/7702 and Directive (EU) 2019/771.3 CPA-1 repeals not only the previously applicable Consumer Protection Act, but also the Consumer Protection from Unfair Commercial Practices Act (Zakon o varstvu potrošnikov pred nepoštenimi poslovnimi praksami).
A closer look at the amended Czech consumer law: ban on "fake" consumer reviews
In recent months, we have seen several regulatory initiatives impacting the Czech online business environment. There is a lot to unpack, which is why we have prepared a series of Legal Insights to help you understand what will change in 2023.
Better late than never: Slovenia last EU Member State to adopt GDPR implementing act
On 15 December 2022, the Slovenian Parliament finally adopted the Data Protection Act (Zakon o varstvu osebnih podatkov, ZVOP-2, "ZVOP-2"), a national law implementing the EU General Data Protection Regulation ("GDPR"). The act had been several years in the making, with the earliest draft released for public consultation back in 2017.
Austria: FMA präsentiert Aufsichts- und Prüfungsschwerpunkte für 2023
Die FMA veröffentlichte mit Ende des Jahres 2022 im Rahmen ihres Ausblicks auf das Jahr 2023 auch ihre Prüfungsschwerpunkte für das Jahr 2023. Die Veröffentlichung der Aufsichtsschwerpunkte soll sowohl die Marktteilnehmer und Stakeholder informieren als auch beaufsichtigten Unternehmen die Möglichkeit geben, sich gezielt auf die risikoorientierten aufsichtlichen Schwerpunkte im Jahr 2023 vorzubereiten.
Czech Republic: Distribution agreements in the online world – what stays and what changes in 2023?
In recent months we have seen a number of regulatory initiatives with an impact on various aspects of the Czech online business environment go forward. There is a lot to unpack, so we have prepared a series of Legal Insights which will help you understand what will change in 2023. Through January, we are publishing three articles focusing on the most important legal developments. Today, our series continues with a second article focusing on B2B distribution agreements and their compliance with Czech and EU competition law. Specifically, we focus on online sales and changes relevant to Czech manufacturers, wholesalers and distributors.
Amendments to the Hungarian Competition Act in 2023: inflation has spilled over into the HCA's procedures
Crucial amendments to the Hungarian Competition Act entered into force on 1 January 2023, while others will on 1 February 2023. This article briefly describes the most important changes.
Bulgaria: Practical problems of repurchase and securities lending transactions
"Repos and securities lending in Bulgaria are regarded as financial collateral, thus ensuring their enforceability. But some important contractual arrangements must be agreed upon by the parties wishing to avail themselves of such enforceability."
The German Supply Chain Act: additional compliance measures required?
The German Supply Chain Act (Lieferkettensorgfaltspflichtengesetz; "LkSG"), which applies to companies seated in Germany or operating a German branch with 3,000 or more employees, entered into force on 1 January 2023.
Strategische Aufsichtsprioritäten – der Umgang mit Verstößen bei IDD-Umsetzungen
Im Zuge der Implementierung der Versicherungsvertriebsrichtlinie (IDD) im Jahr 2018 in nationales Recht fand erstmals für Versicherungsunternehmen der § 129 Versicherungsaufsichtsgesetz (VAG) zum Thema Product Governance Einzug in das VAG.
EU: New year, new… EU design law?
On 28 November 2022, the European Commission published its proposals for a Regulation amending Community Design Regulation No 2/20061 as well as a proposal for an amendment of the Community Design Directive2.
Bulgaria: Contractual retention right as a security in commercial and financial transactions
Under art. 90, par. 1 of the Bulgarian Contracts and Obligations Act, a party may refuse to perform its obligations if there is non-performance by the counterparty under the same transaction ("Statutory Retention Right").
Full FDI screening regime adopted in Slovakia
Since 1 March 2021, Slovakia had a limited FDI regime applicable only to critical infrastructure. However, right after it was adopted, the government started preparing comprehensive legislation that would apply not only to selected industries but to all foreign investments in general (in line with FDI regimes in other EU Member States). After many drafts and lengthy negotiations, this new regime was finally adopted in late November 2022.
New Supreme Administrative Court decision on Augarten lowering regarding specific rights of recognised environmental organisations
In a recent decision,1 the Austrian Supreme Administrative Court (SAC) addressed party status and the requirements for an eligible complaint by recognised environmental organisations (EOs)2 in permit procedures under water law.
A significant amendment to the Czech Significant Market Power Act
An amendment to the Czech Significant Market Power Act (the "SMP Act"), which should harmonise Czech law with the EU directive on unfair business practices (the "Directive"), was recently signed by the President and will become effective as of 1 January 2023.
Austria: The (new) transfer of rights by purpose in copyright contract law
The amendment to the Austrian Copyright Act introduces a whole range of new provisions on copyright contract law, strengthening the position of authors and performers1. In our first Legal Insight ("Austria: The (new) Copyright Contract Law") we provided some background information and an overview. In our second and third Legal Insights, we introduced the new remuneration provisions ("Austria: The (new) copyright remuneration rules for authors and performers") and the transparency obligation ("Austria: The (new) copyright transparency obligation"), which are based on the DSM Directive.
Now we want to have a look at the provisions adopted from the German Copyright Act, in this edition the transfer of rights by the purpose of the contract (Sec 31 para 5 German Copyright Act; Sec 24c para 1 Austrian Copyright Act).
Foreign Subsidies Regulation: The new kid on the block
On 28 November 2022, the Council of the European Union gave its final approval to the Regulation on Foreign Subsidies distorting the Internal Market (FSR) following the adoption of the regulation by the European Parliament on 10 November 2022.
ECJ ruling ends unlimited public access to UBO Register
Under Article 30 (5) (c) of Directive (EU) 2015/849 on the prevention of the use of the financial system for the purpose of money laundering or terrorist financing (AML Directive 2015), Member States are obliged to ensure that information on beneficial ownership is accessible by any person or organisation that can demonstrate a legitimate interest in obtaining it.
Transfer impact assessment in Serbia: Do you really have to comply?
As a consequence of the ECJ judgment, now widely known online as "Schrems II", the EU Commission has enacted new Standard Contractual Clauses introducing the Transfer Impact Assessment as an obligation for all data importers and exporters. This assessment is intended to show whether the government and authorities of the importing country can access the personal data that are being transferred. All organisations must align with the new Standard Contractual Clauses and prepare a Transfer Impact Assessment by 27 December 2022, so the clock is ticking.
Factoring and liquidity facilities: making the best of both worlds
Factoring volumes in Romania have seen a marked increase over the last year, up to EUR 3.68bln in the first half of 2022, according to public sources. While part of this 31.6 % year-on-year surge was driven by inflation rates, local businesses do appear to show a growing appetite for this type of financing product.
Does direct marketing require specific consent?
The Hungarian data protection authority (NAIH) fined Magyar Éremkibocsátó Kft, a limited liability company engaged in the numismatic business, HUF 30m (approx. EUR 73,000) for unlawful direct marketing activities.
Czech competition law in 2022 and what's ahead
The Czech Competition Authority (the "CCA") held an annual conference on 9 and 10 November, which usually provides a good overview of both its current practice and expectations for the near future. This year the representatives of the CCA presented news and practical insights on a wide range of topics, the most important of which are summarised below.
Austria: The (new) copyright transparency obligation
The amendment to the Austrian Copyright Act introduces a whole range of new provisions on copyright contract law, strengthening the position of authors and performers1. In our first Legal Insight ("Austria: The (new) Copyright Contract Law ") we provided some background information and an overview. In our second Legal Insight ("Austria: The (new) copyright remuneration rules for authors and performers"), we introduced the new remuneration provisions. However, in order to assess whether the remuneration remains appropriate and proportionate, some more information is needed.
This brings us to the transparency obligation (Art 19 DSM Directive; Sec 37d Austrian Copyright Act):
Changing the oil in the debt management machinery
As part of a comprehensive EU strategy to tackle non-performing loans, the European Parliament and the Council adopted a directive on credit servicers and credit purchasers, which Member States have until 29 December 2023 to transpose into national law.
Hungary's new Integrity Authority: what is it and how could it benefit foreign investors?
Hungary's parliament passed a package of anti-corruption laws on 3 October 2022 as part of the commitments made by the government to the European Commission.
Bulgaria paves way for innovative businesses with new start-up visa
Country welcomes non-EU investors to boost local start-up ecosystem
After Decree No 318 of 7 October 2022 adopting the Ordinance on the conditions and procedure for issuing, extending and revoking a certificate for a high-tech and/or innovative project (the "Ordinance") was promulgated in issue 82 of the State Gazette of 14 October 2022, Bulgaria joins the almost half of EU countries that issue "start-up visas".
08 November 2022
Serbian Competition Authority imposes EUR 460,000 fine for formation of a consortium
The Commission for Protection of Competition of the Republic of Serbia ("Commission") recently imposed a EUR 460,000 fine on companies in the hazardous waste management market for forming a consortium to participate in a public procurement procedure.
Erneuerbare-Wärme-Gesetz ante portas
Auf dem Weg zur Klimaneutralität gibt es in Österreich noch viele legistische Baustellen. Letztes Jahr wurde mit dem Erneuerbaren-Ausbau-Gesetz (EAG) ein bundeseinheitlicher förderrechtlicher Rahmen für die Umstellung auf Erneuerbare Energien geschaffen. Im Bereich der Wärmebereitstellung für Gebäude fehlt auf Grund der Kompetenzverteilung zwischen Bund und Ländern bislang ein einheitliches bundesrechtliches Regelungsregime. Dies könnte sich nun ändern: Am 02.11.2022 wurde im Ministerrat das Erneuerbare-Wärme-Gesetz (EWG) beschlossen.
Austria: The (new) copyright remuneration rules for authors and performers
The amendment to the Austrian Copyright Act introduces a whole range of new provisions on copyright contract law, strengthening the position of authors and performers1. In our first Legal Insight ("Austria: The (new) Copyright Contract Law") we provided some background information and an overview of the new provisions, which are partly based on the DSM Directive2 and partly adopted from German law. Now we want to examine what to expect from the provisions and what to look out for when drafting copyright agreements in the future.
Let's start with the new remuneration rules based on the DSM Directive:
The Digital Services Act: A tight timeline for compliance?
The Digital Services Act ("DSA")1 was published in the Official Journal of the European Union on 27 October 2022.2 This means that the Act, targeting numerous online services, will enter into force only 20 days later, on 16 November 2022.
Hungary: The jury is still out – is it lawful to incorporate taxes into flight tickets?
Hungary's parliament passed a package of anti-corruption laws on 3 October 2022 as part of the commitments made by the government to the European Commission ("EC").
Austria: The (new) Copyright Contract Law
The Amendment of the Austrian Copyright Act fundamentally revised the Copyright contract law. An entire series of new provisions for the protection of authors was implemented. But what does this mean for (future) license holders? Let us take a look!
ECJ ruling: Paid offer to join a group insurance scheme constitutes insurance mediation
In its decision C-633/20 of 29 September 2022, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) recognised that the concept of an insurance intermediary or insurance distributor also includes a legal person who offers voluntary membership in a group insurance policy that it previously concluded with an insurance company, for which it receives remuneration from its customers who in return are entitled to claim insurance benefits.
Moldova: Excursus on the latest update to the labour code
Following the tendency among EU states to improve labour legislation, through its 28 July 2022 law ("Law 243/2022"), the Moldovan Parliament passed certain amendments to the Labour Code. These were motivated by the need to align the existing legislation to current realities and the recommendations of the International Labour Organization.
Law 243/2022 entered into force on 26 August 2022.
EuGH-Urteil: Entgeltliches Angebot zum Beitritt in eine Gruppenversicherung stellt Versicherungsvermittlung dar
In seiner Entscheidung C-633/20 vom 29.09.2022 erkannte der EuGH jüngst, dass unter den Begriff des Versicherungsvermittlers bzw des Versicherungsvertreibers auch eine juristische Person fällt, deren Tätigkeit darin besteht, eine freiwillige Mitgliedschaft in einer zuvor von ihr bei einer Versicherungsgesellschaft abgeschlossenen Gruppenversicherung anzubieten, für die sie von ihren Kunden eine Vergütung erhält und die die Kunden zur Inanspruchnahme von Versicherungsleistungen berechtigt.
New rules in Czech UBO law as of 1 October 2022. Immediate threat of sanctions
The Czech Act on Ultimate Beneficial Owners1 (the "UBO Act") has been effective since 1 June 2021. Not even a year and a half later, Czech lawmakers introduced an amendment to the UBO Act2 (the "Amendment") after significant pressure from the European Commission to comply with the Fifth Anti-Money Laundering Directive3 ("AMLD5").
NFT licences that "can't be evil": are they any good?
Licences connected to Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) are still far from being the norm. As a result, most NFTs still do not convey sufficient or appropriate IP rights to their underlying content. Moreover, they have to deal with practical difficulties inherent to the nature of NFTs. The need for licences tailored to the NFT market is therefore evident.
To overcome the practical difficulties and tackle these issues, publicly available NFT licence systems have emerged. But are they any good?
Probationary period and discrimination in light of Czech case law
It is common for employers and employees to agree on a probationary period in the employment contract. The employee can check whether the type of work, place of work and the wage or other working conditions suit them, while the employer can use the probationary period to assess whether the employee is meeting its expectations. During the probationary period, each party can decide whether they wish to remain in the employment relationship or to terminate it.
First Annual Report on Czech FDI screening – main takeaways
The Czech foreign direct investment screening regime entered into force on 1 May 2021. The Ministry of Industry and Trade ("MIT"), which is responsible for the screenings, has now published its first annual report. The report takes stock of the first year of enforcement. Below we discuss the enforcement trends that have emerged from the report.
Hungarian Competition Authority to propose sustainable product routes and boost domestic production in the insulation materials market
In August 2022 the Hungarian Competition Authority (GVH) closed its accelerated sector inquiry into the market for insulation materials, providing recommendations to manufacturers, the public, waste management operators and the legislator, aiming for a decrease in product prices.
Romania: Am I saying anything when abstaining from voting as a shareholder?
Historically speaking, uncertainty always existed in Romania regarding the meaning of abstention in general meetings of shareholders. What is at stake is the means to calculate the majority required for the adoption of resolutions of ordinary general shareholders meetings, in which case the Romanian Companies Law (Law no. 31/1990) provides that resolutions are adopted by the "majority of expressed votes".
Austria: No more mandatory quarantine. What should employers know?
New Covid regulations are in effect from 1 August 2022, raising many questions for employers. The biggest changes are that quarantine for SARS-COV-2 infected persons is no longer mandatory according to Austrian law and the reinstatement of the risk group exemption ("Risikogruppenfreistellung").
Österreich: UVP-Novelle 2022 in den Startlöchern
Eine Novellierung des UVP-G1 wurde vom BMK2 bereits seit längerem angekündigt. Nunmehr schickte das BMK den Novellenentwurf bis zum 19.09.2022 in Begutachtung. Medial stand vor allem die "Beschleunigung von Genehmigungsverfahren" im Vordergrund. Die Novelle umfasst aber weit mehr. Der gegenständliche Beitrag bietet eine erste Orientierung.
Hungary opens its online sports betting market from 2023 and sets licensing conditions
Hungary has ended the state monopoly on the online sports betting market and this now makes way for the market entry of operators incorporated in the European Economic Area (EEA) ("EEA Operators").
21 July 2022
Russia Sanctions: 7th sanctions package
The 7th sanctions package of the EU was published in the Official Journal. Both Regulation (EU) 269/2014 (individual financial sanctions) and Regulation (EU) 833/2014 (trade restrictions, capital market restrictions, etc.) have been modified.
EU: How to rescue a design
Have you ever wondered whether you can modify a registered community design ("RCD") that is challenged by an application for declaration of invalidity by removing certain prohibited design elements to maintain the registration?
03 June 2022
Russia Sanctions: 6th sanctions package
The 6th sanctions package was published. Find out more about the changes introduced.
Bulgaria: Contractual set-off as a quasi-security in commercial and financial transactions
The Supreme Court confirmed parties' freedom to contractually modify any of the prerequisites for set-off under Bulgarian law, thus permitting various quasi-security arrangements in commercial and financial contracts that creditors may avail themselves of.
EU-Sanktionen gegen Russland kommen öffentlichen Auftraggebern teuer zu stehen
Seit 9. April gilt das mit der Verordnung (EU) 2022/576 erlassene 5. Sanktionen-Paket gegen Russland. Erstmals werden damit auch öffentliche Auftraggeber unmittelbar in die Pflicht genommen.
Moldova: GDPR: almost there
On 11 November 2021, the Moldovan Parliament passed a series of legal amendments ("Law 175/2021"), including to the existing Law on Personal Data Protection. Law 175/2021 entered into force on 10 January 2022 and partially transposes the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation ("GDPR").
Romania: Happy New Year, Happy New Tax Rules!
Romanian taxpayers had an exciting start to the year with the Government introducing changes to the country's main tax laws – the Fiscal Code and the Tax Procedural Code. These amendments, which follow others announced at the end of last year, were introduced in accelerated fashion, having been debated for only a few days prior to adoption.
Moldova: Digitalisation has made it easier to establish, operate and sell companies
Through its 11 November 2021 law ("Law 175/2021"), the Moldovan Parliament passed certain amendments to existing legislation with the goal of digitalising the national economy. As a result, the norms implemented have made it simpler to establish, operate and sell companies in Moldova.
Law 175/2021 entered into force on 10 January 2022.
Impfpflicht in Österreich – quo vadis?
Inzidenzen, (Intensiv-)Bettenbelegungen, COVID-19-Virus(varianten), eine Durchimpfungsrate von 90 %, nicht zuletzt die Omikron-Variante sind seit Monaten aus dem Wortschatz der medialen Berichterstattung über die omnipräsente und themenbestimmende COVID-19-Pandemie kaum wegzudenken.
Merger Control: Adjustment of the local nexus under the transaction value threshold in Austria
The Austrian Federal Competition Authority (FCA), together with the German Federal Cartel Office (FCO), has published an update to its guidelines on the application of the transaction value thresholds (Guidelines).
Cross-border distribution of funds Directive finally implemented in Austria
An act implementing the cross-border distribution of funds Directive (the "CBDFD")1 into Austrian law (the "Act")2 finally entered into force on 11 December 2021. The Austrian legislator was already late with the implementation, since EU Member States were required to transpose the CBDFD into national legislation by 2 August 2021.
Moldova: Control of investments legislation entered into force
Through its 11 November 2021 law ("Law 174/2021"), the Moldovan Parliament approved the rules on control of investments into sectors important for the security of the state. Law 174/2021 applies equally to local and foreign investors and entered into force on 19 November 2021.
Austria: What to do when the prosecutor comes knocking
House searches have been all over the news in Austria recently. In case you have been wondering what happens to your phone, laptop and tablet when the prosecutor comes knocking – read below.
Hungary: Competition authority publishes results of the first accelerated sectoral inquiry into the national brick market
The Hungarian Competition Authority (HCA) has published its report of an accelerated sector inquiry into the national brick market at the end of September.
27 September 2021
Limited network exemption under PSD2 – EBA consults on Draft Guidelines
In summer 2021 the European Banking Authority (EBA) published Draft Guidelines on the limited network exemption (LNE) under the Payment Service Directive 2 (PSD2) for consultation (available here). The Draft Guidelines are meant to foster supervisory convergence amongst the EU's national competent regulators (NCAs).
Similarity of single letter trademarks (GC T-399/20)
In its judgment on 14 July 2021 in Case T-399/20, the General Court assessed whether there is likelihood of confusion between figurative trademarks that depict two letters from different foreign alphabets.
Poland: Implementation of AMLD V – new KYC procedures and registers
The recent implementation of the AML V Directive to the Polish Act on Counteracting Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing will have a significant impact on business and the approach taken by state bodies to certain transactions.
The tension between the GDPR & NFTs
If you are unfamiliar with the world of NFTs, please see our self-experiment. If you want to quickly recap what NFTs have to do with smart contracts, please see here.
EU: Attention copyright holder: clarification on the activity of satellite bouquet providers incoming
Bouquets of satellite TV programmes are a convenient service for users. But where is the consent of the rightsholder required? The ECJ will soon offer answers.
Blockchain and (Un)Real Estate
Blockchain technology has – so far – not lead to a transfer of the world's land registers onto this technology or to a "tokenization" of title (documents). The only significant exception in this respect is Georgia where a purchaser's title to real property can be registered by execution of a smart contract.
Österreich: Die Tücken der neuen Restrukturierungsordnung
Am 16.06.2021 wurde von der Bundesregierung der Entwurf der neuen Restrukturierungsordnung (ReO), mit der die RL (EU) 2019/1023 (RestrukturierungsRL) umgesetzt wird, beschlossen (siehe hier). Die Regierungsvorlage wird nun im Parlament behandelt und soll im Juli 2021 in Kraft treten (siehe unseren Legal Insight als Übersicht).
Stricter liability of statutory body members (and others) in case of company insolvency
The amendment to the Business Corporations Act effective from 1 January of this year (the "Amendment") brings, among other things, a significant change in the liability of members of a statutory body, which will affect the current topic of insolvency.
When a museum buys an NFT: Legal challenges and considerations
The story of our NFT self-experiment does not end with the selling of the token. To the contrary, it is only the start: The buyer – in our case the Museum Francisco Carolinum in Linz – wants to use the artwork for their purposes. In general, what legal considerations should a museum keep in mind?
Coming up Next: UBO Register in Hungary
Hungary was one of the last EU countries to introduce a register of ultimate beneficial owners. While the provisions of the Fourth and Fifth AML Directives were already implemented in the Hungarian AML Act, the technical conditions on the actual operation of the UBO register were only adopted by Act XLIII of 2021 ("UBO Register Act") and are in force as of 22 May 2021.
NFTs: What about energy and climate issues?
When we started our NFT self-experiment, it did not take long before questions relating to energy consumption came up. According to our estimates, the two transactions (i) minting of the token and (ii) authorisation of an eventual sales processing, produced a CO2-footprint of over 100 kg of CO2EQ.
(Be)sicher(t) durch die Insolvenz?
Forderungen von Absonderungsgläubigern sind insgesamt auf den Wert der jeweiligen Sicherheit im Zeitpunkt der Bestätigung eines Sanierungsplans begrenzt. Damit ist der OGH in seiner aktuellen Entscheidung 17 Ob 12/20v von seiner bisherigen Rechtsprechung abgewichen.
Let the NFT Self-Experiment begin!
Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) aren't new, in fact they've been around for years. However, it took the auction of an NFT linked to an image by Christie's Auction House and the fall of the hammer at a spectacular USD 69 million to create worldwide attention and interest in NFTs.
Corporate and commercial post-Covid
More than a year since the first lockdown (which was introduced in March 2020), the COVID-19 pandemic continues to shape and challenge the Romanian legal and business environment in ways difficult to predict a year ago.
Whistleblowing: what new duties will arise for employers? | Czech Republic
The Chamber of Deputies is currently discussing at first reading a bill on the protection of whistleblowers. This act should implement the European directive on whistleblowing1, and should therefore become effective within the implementation period, i.e. no later than 17 December 2021.
How to turn office space into residential units? Legal challenges
The COVID-19 pandemic has severely impacted several fields and industries, including the real estate sector. Many office buildings have been vacated as a precaution or because the companies went out of business.
21 April 2021
Facial recognition – Austrian regulations v European approach?
Over the last couple of years, more and more countries have deployed technologies that allow them to match digital images of a person (e.g. from a surveillance camera) against a database of pictures.
20 April 2021
Serbian Competition Authority issues long-awaited guidance on the concept of a concentration in cases of interrelated transactions
In April 2021, the Serbian Competition Authority ("SCA") issued an opinion on the fundamental merger control notion of a "concentration" in cases involving interrelated transactions (the "Opinion").1
Energy communities – is a business licence required?
Energy communities are the new model for a more decentralised energy supply (for further details please see "Sparking change: Renewable Energy Expansion Act published for evaluation"). An energy community can generate, consume, store, distribute and sell energy, with the focus being the use of the jointly generated energy by the community members. According to the draft Renewable Expansion Act (EAG), which will be passed shortly, energy communities may also actively participate in the electricity market and provide energy services.
Facial recognition technology: regulations and use
In recent years there has been an increased use of technologies that match a person's digital image (eg, from a surveillance camera) to a picture database. These technologies facilitate various tasks, including:
New ruling expands environmental organisations' rights in nature conservation procedures
In December 2020 the Higher Administrative Court issued an interesting ruling regarding the party status of environmental organisations (EOs).1 Until now, the scope of EOs' participation rights in Austrian nature conservation proceedings was unclear. The court's ruling clarifies that EOs' party status is to be interpreted broadly.
The ECJ's VG Bild-Kunst case: Are there (legal) limitations to the use of links?
YES - In its previous case law, the court has recognised the importance of hyperlinks for the operation of the World Wide Web and for freedom of speech. On these grounds, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) generously allowed the use of links to make third-party content accessible via one's own website.
Die Hüterin der EAG-Förderungen: Überblick zur EAG-Förderabwicklungsstelle
In Schönherrs Erneuerbaren-Ausbau-Gesetz Infocorner werden die wesentlichen Eckpunkte des EAG-Pakets dargestellt und praxisrelevante Rechtsfragen behandelt. Bleiben Sie zudem über aktuelle Veranstaltungen und Webinare informiert.
EAG: Änderungen des ElWOG und GWG
Die am 17.03.2021 veröffentlichte Regierungsvorlage des EAG-Gesetzespakets umfasst neben dem neuen Erneuerbaren-Ausbau-Gesetz unter anderem auch Novellen des ElWOG und des GWG. Diese Novellen haben das Ziel, erneuerbare Energiequellen in das Energiesystem zu integrieren und die Systeminnovationen zu implementieren.
Hier kommt die Sonne(nenergie)
Am 17.03.2021 wurde der mit Spannung erwartete Entwurf des Bundesgesetzes über den Ausbau von Energie aus erneuerbaren Quellen (Erneuerbaren-Ausbau-Gesetz – EAG) im Ministerrat beschlossen. Um die Investitionssicherheit für bestehende und zukünftige Anlagen zu gewährleisten, bringt der Entwurf bedeutende Änderungen des Fördersystems für Photovoltaikanlagen – ein erster Überblick!
Neues EAG: Update zu Energiegemeinschaften!
Am 17.03.2021 wurde die Regierungsvorlage zum geplanten Bundesgesetz über den Ausbau von Energie aus erneuerbaren Quellen (Erneuerbaren-Ausbau-Gesetz – EAG) veröffentlicht. Diesem lang ersehnten Schritt geht ein Begutachtungsverfahren mit über 100 Stellungnahmen voraus. Mehr als 6 Monate wurde am Begutachtungsentwurf gearbeitet. Für die geplanten Energiegemeinschaften gibt es einige wesentliche Änderungen.
11 March 2021
COVID19 Overview on moratoria
03 March 2021
Impact of the Coronavirus Measures on the Real Estate Sector in CEE
Hungary: New labour inspection rules as of 1 March 2021
On 1 March 2021 a new Act on Labour Inspection, Employment Services and Grants will enter into force in Hungary, which replaces the "old" Act on Labour Inspection from 1996. While the new Act contains similar rules, there are some novelties too. Below we summarise the most important ones.
Newsflash: Keine Macht dem hold-out – die neue Restrukturierungsordnung
Am 23.02.2021 wurde der lang erwartete Entwurf der Restrukturierungsordnung veröffentlicht. Mit dem Entwurf soll die Richtlinie (EU) 2019/1023 (RestrukturierungsRL) in Österreich umgesetzt werden.
New investment screening mechanism in Slovakia
On 1 February 2021, the Slovak Ministry of Economy submitted an investment screening proposal to the government. This proposal was approved by the National Council (with amendments) on 5 February 2021 and is scheduled to enter in force on 1 March 2021.
Romania: FDI rules soon to be tightened
At the end of December 2020, the Romanian Competition Council (the "RCC") published an updated iteration of the draft Emergency Government Ordinance implementing the FDI Regulation (the "FDI Draft Law").
Gatekeepers and the Digital Markets Act – CEE focused in-depth review
The Digital Markets Act proposal (DMA) is a collection of complex obligations imposed on certain digital service providers. We previously described the salient features of the DMA here.
Bulgarian watchdog introduces pre-notification contacts in merger proceedings
As of 1 January 2021, Bulgaria's Commission for the Protection of Competition (the "CPC") will be available for pre-notification discussions. To this end, it has also published bylaws ("Rules") for such contacts (adopted by CPC decision 1005/10 December 2020).
23 December 2020
Czech Competition Authority imposed fine on retailer for abuse of significant market power
The Czech Competition Authority (CCA) announced in a press release1 that it had imposed a fine of CZK 32m (approximately EUR 1.2m) on the Czech retail chain HRUŠKA, spol. s.r.o., for an alleged abuse of significant market power. The decision is not final and an appeal has been filed.
Cyber security: the last days for operators of essential services in Romania to notify CERT-RO
Operators of essential services are required to notify CERT-RO - the national competent authority for security of networks and information systems - for registration in the Register of operators of essential services by 17 December 2020. Otherwise, these companies risk fines of, in some cases; up to 5 % of their turnover.
Know Your Supply Chain: Proposal for EU-wide Mandatory Due Diligence Legislation
Supply chains have been in focus throughout 2020, and not only thanks to COVID-19. Earlier this year, the European Commissioner for Justice, Didier Reynders, announced that in 2021 the Commission would propose legislation on mandatory corporate due diligence covering human rights and environmental risks across a business's supply chain.
Bulgaria: How safe is it to advertise a product as "homemade"?
On 19 November 2020 the Bulgarian Commission for Protection of Competition ("CPC") fined Olineza Premium OOD ("Olineza"), one of the biggest Bulgarian food producers, BGN 1,479,040 (approx. EUR 700,000) or 4 % of its 2019 turnover.
07 December 2020
The role of competition law in moving towards a more sustainable world
Across the globe, more and more companies are looking into ways to strengthen their environmental, social and corporate governance ("ESG") profile as investors realise that a strong ESG profile is the key to safeguarding a company's long-term profit and growth.
27 November 2020
Slovenia: Damages resulting from competition law infringements: Collective redress easing the way to compensation
The adoption of Directive 2014/104/EU ("Damages Directive"), which introduced a level playing field for the private competition law enforcement regime among EU Member States, has paved the way for private enforcement to gain more traction in the EU.
06 November 2020
Status of Intellectual Property Offices in CEE
05 November 2020
Serbia: European Commission comments on Western Balkan countries' level of harmonisation of antitrust rules
The European Commission recently adopted the 'enlargement package' for 2020, which encompasses reports on candidate and potential candidate countries' progress towards EU accession. The progress reports contain, among other things, an assessment of the level of harmonisation of the Western Balkan countries' national competition laws with EU competition law and practice.
Has Croatia implemented FDI screening mechanism?
On 2 October 2020 the Regulation on the Implementation of the EU Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) Screening Regulation (2019/452) (OJ L 79I, 21 March 2019) (the Implementing Regulation) entered into force.
Austria: FMA publishes guidance on ICOs and token classification
The Austrian Financial Market Authority (Finanzmarktaufsicht, FMA) has recently published guidelines on how it views Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) from a financial services regulatory perspective.
The Reference Mechanism in the EU-UK Withdrawal Agreement: Innovative or Simply Pragmatic?
In early September 2020, the United Kingdom (‘UK’) Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Brandon Lewis, conceded in no uncertain terms that the UK Internal Market Bill would violate public international law, albeit only in “a very specific and limited way“.
Austria: Covid-19: Welche Unterstützungsleistungen der öffentlichen Hand kann ich beantragen?
Die durch die COVID-19 Pandemie verursachten wirtschaftlichen Auswirkungen betreffen eine Vielzahl von Unternehmen. Die Politik hat bereits mehrere Maßnahmen zur Erhaltung der Zahlungsfähigkeit und Überbrückung von Liquiditätsengpässen für die heimische Wirtschaft verlautbart.
How can Romanian SMEs affected by the pandemic access the announced state aid scheme?
Following the European Commission's approval of Romania's state aid scheme to support small and medium-sized enterprises ("SMEs") and certain large enterprises affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ministry of European Funds adopted the state aid scheme through a ministerial order, in the context of the economic crisis generated by the pandemic.
EAG-Entwurf: Energiegemeinschaften als neue Marktteilnehmer!
Der mit Spannung erwartete Begutachtungsentwurf des Bundesgesetzes über den Ausbau von Energie aus erneuerbaren Quellen (Erneuerbaren-Ausbau-Gesetz – EAG) enthält ua Regelungen zu Erneuerbaren-Energie-Gemeinschaften. Damit soll die Bürgerbeteiligung an der Energiewende und eine verstärkte dezentrale Energieversorgung in Österreich gefördert werden.
Romania: New changes in labour law
Soon employers will have to amend their internal regulations in order to adapt them to the imminent labour law changes to be announced. At the same time, they should consider the opportunity of inserting new clauses into individual employment agreements, referring to the newly introduced conciliation procedure for labour disputes.
Mandatory e-communication for companies seated in Croatia
The digitalisation of the Croatian court system is proceeding and e-communication is expanding. Snail mail and "paper" communication are on the verge of extinction. As of 1 September 2020, all legal entities will have to use e-communication with the court.
24 August 2020
City of Prague fined for unfair parking rules
In a first-instance decision, the Office for the Protection of Competition recently fined the City of Prague Kc980,000 (approximately €36,981) for creating anti-competitive parking conditions for hybrid vehicles.
Bulgaria: Competition analysis of production, transmission and supply of heating for household and non-household needs
The Commission for Protection of Competition (CPC) recently opened a sector analysis of the markets for the production, transmission and supply of heating for household and non-household needs and vertically connected markets.
Certain Romanian Competition Law provisions on hold (for now)
Several provisions of Competition Law no. 21/1996 (the "Competition Law") are currently suspended and may lose their legal effects beginning of September, following a recent decision issued by the Constitutional Court of Romania (CCR).
Hungary: Impacts of COVID-19 on the labour and real estate markets | Podcast
The COVID pandemic and the subsequent state of emergency in Hungary have disrupted conventional methods of working, with most companies having successfully transitioned into home office – a modus operandi rarely used before.
Czech Republic: Managing director and invalid employment contract, work injury
(from the decision of the Supreme Court of the Czech Republic 21Cdo 2124/2018)
The Supreme Court of the Czech Republic recently issued an interesting decision concerning the employment of a managing director and an accident at work.
Austrian Parliament adopts new FDI screening act
On 15 July 2020 the Austrian Parliament adopted a new FDI screening act (Investitionskontrollgesetz, "ICA"), following the trend to tighten the regulatory framework for foreign investment screening (read more here: Austrian government proposes new FDI screening act).
Energy: Bulgaria introduces licensing regime for natural gas traders
With a last-minute amendment of the Bulgarian Energy Act of 26 June 2020, natural gas trading becomes an activity subject to licensing by the Energy and Water Regulatory Commission (the "Energy Commission").
Hungary: Data protection authority imposes highest post-GDPR fine
The Hungarian National Authority for Data Protection and Freedom of Information (the "Authority" or "NAIH") recently imposed a fine of HUF 100m (approx. EUR 285,000) on one of the biggest electronic communication service providers Digi Távközlési Szolgáltató Kft. ("Digi").
Hungary: The time needed for liquidation and forced deletion procedures has been extended due to coronavirus
On 28 May 2020, the Hungarian Government adopted amendments to the laws on company liquidation and forced deletion procedures to cushion the impact of the global coronavirus pandemic on the economy.
The Unfair Competition Law is changing: new focus on companies with superior bargaining position l Romania
A draft Emergency Government Ordinance recently published on the Romanian Competition Council's (RCC) website sets the stage for several significant changes to Law 11/1991 (the Unfair Competition Law).
Will the COVID-19 pandemic ramp up Romania's green ambitions?
The unprecedented economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic is severely impacting the electricity sector, with demand falling as much as 20 % in certain cases, according to data published by the International Energy Agency (IEA).
03 June 2020
CEE ramps up screening of foreign direct investments (FDI)
FDI screening was for a long time a blank spot on the regulatory landscape for most countries in Central Eastern Europe (CEE). Unlike Western European Member States, so far relatively few countries in Central Eastern Europe (Austria, Poland, Hungary, Romania) had instruments that allowed vetting foreign investments; albeit often with little practical relevance.
18 May 2020
Czech Republic: Constitutional Court upholds Act on Significant Market Power but declares 3% limit on marketing payments unconstitutional
In a recent decision, the Constitutional Court upheld the Act on Significant Market Power, despite demands for its repeal by a group of senators almost four years ago.
Transactions under political scrutiny – A new FDI regime in Austria
Following the adoption of the new EU framework for screening of foreign direct investments (see Schoenherr Newsletter 13.03.2019), the Austrian government recently published a draft bill to amend the current rules on foreign direct investments (FDI) into Austria.
Further COVID-related employment law measures in Hungary
The Government of Hungary adopted further government decrees – which were promulgated in the Official Gazette on 10 April 2020 - in respect of employers with regards to the coronavirus disease.
30 April 2020
Labour & Employment-related measures in combatting the consequences of COVID-19 in CEE
Find an overview of labour & employment-related measures in combatting the consequences of COVID-19 in the CEE region – status as of 5 May.
COVID-19: state aid scheme sets maximum prices and margins for certain goods I Poland
On 8 April 2020 the European Commission approved a state aid scheme worth Zl3.5 billion (approximately €700 million) for loans and guarantees to support the Polish economy in the context of the COVID-19 outbreak.1
Czech Republic: LEX COVID – Changes to insolvency proceedings
The coronavirus pandemic has made life complicated for almost all businesses, especially from the financial point of view. Businesses thus face an increased risk of bankruptcy and subsequent insolvency proceedings.
Romania: Are Romanian companies ready for post-pandemic tax audits?
As part of the preventive measures taken to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Romanian tax authorities have limited the number of tax audits at taxpayers' premises for the duration of the state of emergency.
22 April 2020
COVID-19 – Effects on regulatory approvals in financial sector M&A transactions
M&A and corporate transactions (including mere group-internal restructurings) in the financial sector often not only require profound corporate law documentation, but also financial regulatory approvals from the competent authorities/regulators.
Slovenia: COVID-19 and breach of contract - debtors beware of foreseeability element
The COVID-19 pandemic is causing disruption throughout the commercial sector. Stakeholders are forced to shift their focus to mitigating the impact on the supply chain, customer relations, workforce, leases and more broadly business in general.
Bulgaria: Working remotely during the COVID-19 crisis - Is the risk for your trade secrets remote?
As the COVID-19 pandemic has rapidly spread across Europe, more and more companies have been forced to implement remote working arrangements for their employees.
17 April 2020
CEE: EU & Competition Monthly Bulletin – April 2020
Stay informed about the latest developments in competition law in Central and Eastern Europe with Schoenherr's multi-jurisdictional newsletter.
Hungary: Employment contracts and COVID-19
COVID-19 has created completely new challenges in the employment sector. As there is significant uncertainty and a need for detailed information about the situation, this article provides a timeline of employment-related measures that have been introduced to combat COVID-19 in Hungary.
09 April 2020
Corona Crisis: Amendment of the obligation to file for insolvency in CEE
With the fourth law on COVID-19, the Austrian legislator has suspended the obligation of an overindebted debtor to file for insolvency until 30 June 2020, irrespective of the cause of the over-indebtedness.
Croatia: The impact of COVID-19 on employment from the employer's perspective
Given the situation caused by the coronavirus pandemic in Croatia, the National Civil Protection Committee (Stožer civilne zaštite) has put in place numerous restrictive measures to protect the lives of all citizens.
State aid scheme to support Romanian SMEs in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic in light of the new amendments via GEO no. 42/2020
The Romanian government has finalised and adopted a state aid scheme to support SMEs in the context of the economic downfall generated by the global COVID-19 pandemic.
Austria: Fragen, Antworten und Praxisbeispiele zu den COVID-19 Sonderverfahrensvorschriften für Verwaltungsbehörden, VwG, VwGH und VfGH
Austria: Fragen, Antworten und Praxisbeispiele zu den COVID-19 Sonderverfahrensvorschriften für Verwaltungsbehörden, VwG, VwGH und VfGH (einschließlich Update zum 4. COVID-19-Gesetz)
Aus Anlass der aktuellen COVID-19 Epidemie hat der österreichische Gesetzgeber knapp eine Woche nach dem 1. COVID-19-Gesetz (BGBl I 2020/12) ein weiteres Sammelgesetz (2. COVID-19-Gesetz, BGBl I 2020/16, in Kraft getreten am 22.03.2020) beschlossen.
Änderungen für Abfalllager und Abfallbehandlungsanlagen durch das 4. COVID-19-Begleitgesetz
Kapazitätsausweitungen der Abfalllager von Abfallbehandlungsanlagen bedürfen regelmäßig einer Genehmigung nach dem AWG. Durch das verstärkte Abfallaufkommen im Zuge der COVID-19-Krise sind nunmehr für einen beschränkten Zeitraum Verfahrensvereinfachungen für diese Kapazitätsausweitungen vorgesehen.
"Corona" Amendment to the Slovak Labour Code and governmental measures aimed at helping employers
In response to the coronavirus crisis, which is seriously impacting the Slovak economy and employment, the Government of Slovakia has proposed an amendment to the Slovak Labour Code which was quickly passed in Parliament.
Bulgarian Coronavirus Payment Moratorium and its effect on cross-border financial transactions
The Moratorium was not self-proclaimed by the Bulgarian Parliament as an overriding mandatory piece of law so the courts discretion in cross-border scenarios has been retained
Update zu den COVID-19 Sonderverfahrensvorschriften für Verwaltungsbehörden, VwG, VwGH und VfGH
Der Nationalrat hat am 20.03.2020 auf Grundlage eines Initiativantrags der beiden Regierungsparteien einstimmig das 2. COVID-19-Gesetz beschlossen (BGBl I 2020/16).
Außerordentliche Kündigungsmöglichkeit des Mieters nach § 1117 ABGB
Nach § 1117 ABGB ist der Bestandnehmer berechtigt, auch vor Verlauf der bedungenen Zeit von dem Vertrag ohne Kündigung abzustehen, wenn das Bestandstück in einem Zustand übergeben oder ohne seine Schuld in einen Zustand geraten ist, der es zu dem bedungenen Gebrauch untauglich macht, oder wenn ein beträchtlicher Teil durch Zufall auf eine längere Zeit entzogen oder unbrauchbar wird.
Bulgaria: An overview of the effect of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) on the Bulgarian Real Estate Sector
The rapid spread of the COVID-19 pandemic is causing a severe impact on everyone's daily life, and is putting considerable strain on the economy as a result of the new challenges stemming from the pandemic. The real estate sector is no exception from this.
Bulgaria: Insolvency during the state of emergency and creditor protection
Bulgaria has been in a state of emergency since 13 March due to the COVID-19 outbreak. On 23 March the Parliament voted on a special State of Emergency Act (COVID-19 Act) which suspended all court, arbitration and enforcement terms and proceedings during the state of emergency, currently in force until 13 April.
Czech Republic: State supports actions to mitigate the impact of the pandemic
Czech businesses and citizens have recently been affected by the adverse effects of the state of emergency declared due to COVID-19 and related emergency measures taken by the government or the Ministry of Health.
Bulgaria: healthcare & life sciences in a global pandemic
Healthcare and life sciences have a special status as a type of legal practice. The debate about what this specialisation entails, and to what extent it even qualifies as legal work, is endless. However, as a crisis is also an opportunity, the coronavirus pandemic has defined the areas where law, healthcare and the life sciences overlap.
Business in Bulgaria under the new State of Emergency Law of 13 March: Suspended and postponed, but no actual economic support
Over the last few weeks, world leaders have likened the fight against COVID-19 to a war. Urgent measures are required to protect health and lives, justifying a wide range of economic measures, irrespective of their consequences.
Croatia: Temporary measures to mitigate the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic and Zagreb earthquake in civil, insolvency and criminal procedure law
On 14 March 2020, the Croatian Ministry of Justice issued recommendations to prevent the transmission of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and control the pandemic ("Measures").
Slovenia: Government anti-coronavirus support schemes for businesses
On 25 March 2020, the Government of Slovenia announced a EUR 2bln rescue package intended to mitigate the adverse and diverse effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. The package primarily seeks to maintain jobs by providing pay check support and tax relief to employers and introducing additional mechanisms to reduce the liquidity shock on businesses.
24 March 2020
Coronavirus – Auswirkungen auf die Insolvenzantragspflicht?
Das Coronavirus stellt Unternehmen vor große Herausforderungen unterschiedlicher Art. Der eingeschränkte Betrieb, Stornierungen und das Ausbleiben von Kunden können auch bei sonst gesunden Unternehmen zu Liquiditätsproblemen führen und im Extremfall die Pflicht auslösen, einen Insolvenzantrag zu stellen. Zwar hat der Staat Hilfsmaßnahmen angekündigt, die Frage ist aber, wie rasch diese Maßnahmen kommen, wie schnell sie greifen und ob sie ausreichend sind.
Austria: Coronavirus – How does it affect civil proceedings in Austria?
The coronavirus does not stop at court. That is why it creates uncertainty among litigants and even the public on whether and how to exercise subjective rights and enforce legal claims.
Czech Republic: Obstacles to work on the part of the employer in connection with the coronavirus
Many employers currently find themselves in a precarious position, faced with deciding how to deal with the obstacles to work arising from the coronavirus crisis, irrespective of whether these obstacles are the result of government measures (total or partial restrictions on operations) or due to real operational reasons (difficulties in the supply of materials for production, drop in sales).
News Alert Austria: Implications of legislative measures taken for merger control clearances in Austria
The Austrian Parliament has passed a series of further legislative measures to meet the Covid-19 crisis last week. These measures include a general stay of deadlines in administrative and court proceedings. The law is in force as of 23 March 2020.
Slovakia: Coronavirus from the employer's perspective
Given the coronavirus crisis impacting the Slovak economy and employment, we have prepared an overview of information on (i) the recent measures introduced by the Slovak public authorities to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the Slovak Republic, (ii) recommended prevention, (iii) possible measures to be taken by employers, and (iv) planed measures announced by the government of the Slovak Republic aiming to help business overcome the negative impact of the current crisis.
COVID-19 Sonderverfahrensvorschriften für Verwaltungsbehörden, VwG, VwGH und VfGH
Der Nationalrat hat am 20.03.2020 auf Grundlage eines Initiativantrags der beiden Regierungsparteien einstimmig das 2. COVID-19-Gesetz beschlossen (BGBl I 2020/16). Neben zahlreichen wirtschafts-, sozial- und gesundheitspolitischen Maßnahmen wurde im Rahmen dieses Sammelgesetzes auch ein eigenes Bundesgesetz über Sonderverfahrensvorschriften für Verwaltungsbehörden, VwG, VwGH und VfGH beschlossen, um die (mittelbaren) Auswirkungen der Coronavirus-Krise auch in diesem Bereich einzudämmen (im Folgenden COVID-19-VerfG).
23 March 2020
The Serbian Commission for State Aid publishes a notice on the application of state aid rules during the coronavirus pandemic
In response to the ongoing coronavirus crisis, and following a similar announcement by the European Commission, on 17 March the Serbian Commission for State Aid Control ("Commission") published the Notice on the Application of the Rules for Granting State Aid in the Emerging COVID-19 Situation ("Notice").
Auswirkungen der COVID-19-Krise auf Verjährungsfristen
Das 2. COVID-19 Gesetz, das nach der Kundmachung im Bundesgesetzblatt (BGBl 16/I/2020) mit Beginn des 22.03.2020 in Kraft getreten ist, enthält auch ein Bundesgesetz betreffend Begleitmaßnahmen zu COVID-19 in der Justiz.
Hungary: Information notice on the conditions of employment with regards to the appearance and spread of the coronavirus
Trade associations must pay attention to competition rules! The risk of fines is real, even during the COVID-19 pandemic
Information conveyed recently via various communication channels in Romania suggests that joint measures and decisions are being adopted at the level of trade or employers' associations to respond to the challenges that the COVID-19 pandemic has raised.
Hungary: Extraordinary measures impact the Hungarian banking sector
On 18 March the Hungarian prime minister announced extraordinary measures to be taken as a result of the national emergency caused by COVID-19. Most of these measures have a strong impact on the Hungarian economy; in particular, the banking sector.
Green light for green electricity l Slovakia
Up until the end of 2018, renewable energy sources (RES) generators in Slovakia were mainly subsidised in the form of a guaranteed feed-in tariff granted for 15 years, the amount of which depended on the date when the RES facility was put into operation.
Czech Republic: Coronavirus from the employer's perspective
With regard to the current situation related to coronavirus, below we provide information on (i) the latest measures adopted by the Czech authorities, (ii) recommended prevention, (iii) possible measures to be taken by employers, and (iv) where to find relevant information provided by public authorities.
Exportverbote für Arzneispezialitäten
Am 01.04.2020 tritt die Verordnung über die Sicherstellung der Arzneimittelversorgung ("AMVS-VO") in Kraft. COVID-19 war zwar nicht der Grund für die Erlassung der Verordnung, die Auswirkungen der Corona-Pandemie könnten jedoch schnell zum ersten größeren Anwendungsfall der AMVS-VO werden.
16 March 2020
E-healthcare and telehealth become vital to tackling COVID-19 in CEE
Worried about COVID-19? During the outbreak, it is challenging for patients to seek in-person medical care.
Coronavirus – general legal information
The duty to report suspected coronavirus infections and the statutory basis for related compulsory measures is predominantly set forth in the Austrian Pandemic Act 1950 (Epidemiegesetz 1950) and its related ordinances and decrees, as issued by the Federal Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs and Consumer Protection.
What's new for Polish companies in 2021? | Poland
2021 will be a year of changes for companies in Poland. With the recent postponement of the already announced innovations and the new obligations for joint-stock companies and joint-stock partnerships, companies have time to prepare for what's to come.
Bulgaria: Approaching Deadline for Inactive Companies | Bulgaria
Pursuant to the Bulgarian Accountancy Act (Закон за счетоводството), companies must publish their annual financial statements in the Commercial Register and Register for Non-profit Legal Entities ("Commercial Register") by 30 June of the calendar year following the reported period.
Hungarian government settles pharma debts: An opportunity for factoring companies? | Hungary
Hungarian hospitals are facing problems paying for drugs and medical devices. Many suppliers have claims worth millions of euros and are having difficulty enforcing them against either the hospitals or the Hungarian government.
Net & the City: Key takeaways for dominant companies and holders of essential facilities stemming from a recent fine imposed by the Romanian Competition Council
A recent fine imposed by the Romanian Competition Council (the "RCC") set off the alarm bells for companies holding essential facilities (and enjoying a dominant position on the market) and local authorities interested or involved in developing infrastructure projects.
The four-eyes principle: Joint representation of executive directors and proxyholders | Czech Republic
The four-eyes principle is an effective way for companies to control management dealings. It is based on the idea that the company must be represented by two people acting jointly, usually two members of the statutory body.
Bulgaria: New Legislation in the Rose Cultivation Sector
Bulgaria is well-known for its roses, more precisely its oilseed roses (маслодайни рози). Oilseed roses are famously used to produce rose oil, which is one of the most expensive oils, commonly referred to as "liquid gold".
Bulgaria: Deadline for Update of AML Internal Rules
Under Bulgarian anti-money laundering law, all obliged entities must adapt their internal rules in accordance with Article 101 of the Bulgarian Anti-Money Laundering Act ("AMLA") within six months following the publication of a national assessment of the risks related to money laundering and terrorism financing ("National Risk Assessment") on the website of the State Agency for National Security ("SANS").
06 February 2020
New Regulation for Derivatives Transactions with Sovereign Counterparty in Serbia | Serbia
According to the Public Debt Act (Zakon o javnom dugu) of the Republic of Serbia, the Minister of Finance manages the country's public debt by (i) entering into transactions that would reduce or eliminate currency risk, interest rate risk and other risks, (ii) deciding on the sale and purchase of foreign currencies, and (iii) managing cash balances on the Republic of Serbia's treasury accounts.
New Labour Act in Montenegro
The new Labour Act (OGM, no. 74/19) (Zakon o radu) ("Labour Act") entered into force in Montenegro on 8 January 2020, replacing the 2008 Labour Act (OGM, nos. 49/08, 26/09, 88/9, 26/10, 59/11, 66/12, 31/14, 53/14 AND 4/18) ("2008 Labour Act").
Landmark Supreme Court ruling on single economic entity doctrine regarding joint ventures | Austria
In a recent judgment, the Austrian Supreme Court found that the concept of the "single economic entity" (wirtschaftliche Einheit) may also apply to jointly controlled undertakings.
Bulgarian watchdog introduces simplified and more extensive merger filing in new merger filing guidelines l Bulgaria
From 1 January 2020, the Bulgarian Commission for the Protection of Competition (the "CPC") has been applying new merger filing guidelines (the "Guidelines").
New changes to the Romanian Food Trade Law: what can retailers and suppliers expect?
The new Law 28/2020, recently promulgated by the President of Romania and pending publication in the Official Gazette, squeezes in several amendments to the Food Trade Law 321/2009.
Payment Services Directive 2 (PSD2) – Paving the way for Open Banking
The revised Payment Services Directive (PSD2), applicable since 13 January 2018, has paved the way for Open Banking. Open Banking describes a shift from a closed model of banking to one in which customer data is shared between different members of the banking ecosystem.
Financial institutions in Romania: Ready for the new outsourcing rules?
The revised European Banking Authority ("EBA") Guidelines on outsourcing arrangements (the "Guidelines") have recently come into force. They change the rules for outsourcing by credit institutions and investment firms subject to the Capital Requirements Directive* as well as by payment and electronic money institutions ("Financial Institutions").
IP Right Enforcement in the EU: CJEU Reduces Claimant's Liability Risk when Seeking Preliminary Injunctions
The Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) recently dealt with "appropriate compensation" due in cases where a preliminary injunction based on IP rights was lifted or not rectified in subsequent main proceedings.
CEZ Bulgaria not for sale l Bulgaria
CEZ Bulgaria is not for sale. This seems to be the (hidden) conclusion when reading the decision of the Bulgarian competition authority (the "CPC") prohibiting the acquisition of CEZ Group's entire assets in Bulgaria by Eurohold Bulgaria AD.
Directors' confidentiality obligations l Romania
Under the Companies Law, directors are prohibited from disclosing confidential information and trade secrets to which they have access in their capacity as a director. Further, the law states that the scope and duration of a director's confidentiality obligations must be agreed by the director and their company in the applicable mandate agreement.
11 November 2019
The new Serbian Act on State Aid Control: An overhaul of the current system
The new Serbian Act on State Aid Control ("SAA")1 has entered into force. Its implementation, apart from the provisions on organisation of the Commission on State Aid Control ("Commission"), will begin on 1 January 2020.
05 November 2019
Austria: Pre-emptive right on shares unenforceable in insolvency proceedings?
Shareholders of Austrian limited liability companies usually want to have influence over whom they are associated with. That's why shareholders often agree on a pre-emptive right (Aufgriffsrecht) to purchase existing shares in certain cases, e.g. in case of insolvency proceedings against a shareholder.
Payment Services Directive (PSD2) – Strong Customer Authentication and additional migration period for e-commerce businesses
The revised Payment Services Directive (PSD2), applicable since 13 January 2018, brought significant changes to the payment markets in the EU. In particular, PSD2 requires certain payment services providers (PSPs) to apply strong customer authentication (SCA, also referred to as two-factor authentication) in remote electronic transactions.
Polish Supreme Court comments on anti-competitive vertical agreements - Poland
The Supreme Court recently explained that the Office for Competition and Consumer Protection (OCCP) does not have to identify all of the parties to anti-competitive vertical agreements in decisions issued in such cases.
Electric filling station: no operation of an electricity company - Austria
In its decision of 18 September 2019, the Austrian Higher Administrative Court ("VwGH") found that the operation of an electric filling station does not constitute the operation of an electricity company and is thus subject to the rules of the Austrian Trade Act ("GewO").1
07 October 2019
Supreme Court finds insolvency related avoidance claims assignable - Austria
The Austrian Supreme Court has recently found that insolvency related avoidance claims can be sold. This may open a whole new business segment and will most certainly have a material impact on defendants in avoidance proceedings.
Additional funding for renewable energy - Austria
On 25 September 2019, an amendment to the Green Electricity Act (Ökostromgesetz 2012 – "ÖSG 2012") passed the Austrian National Council. The objective of the amendment is to prevent an interruption of the expansion of green electricity and to ensure a stable transitional period until the Renewable Energy Expansion Act (Erneuerbaren Ausbau Gesetz) is adopted in the next legislative period.
18 September 2019
Amendments to Competition Act on horizon - Slovenia
The Ministry of Economic Development and Technology (the Ministry) is contemplating significant amendments to Slovenia's antitrust and merger control proceedings and has prepared a draft amendment1 to the Prevention of Restriction of Competition Act.2
Private companies must now declare their beneficial owners - Romania
Failure to comply with the recently introduced obligation to declare beneficial owners for registration purposes with the Central Register of Beneficial Owners of Private Companies can mean fines of up to RON 10,000.
Funeral agency fined for not complying with earlier CPC decision
On 27 June 2019 the Commission on the Protection of Competition (CPC) issued a decision in which it penalised funeral agency Elida MG EOOD (formerly Pokoy-1945 EOOD) for failing to comply with an earlier CPC decision.
Are you ready for the tax and employment authorities' dawn raids? - Romania
A wave of dawn raids from mixed teams of the Romanian tax and employment authorities (ANAF and ITM) is expected this August. As per public declarations, these measures target tax evasion and "black market" labour.
Growing cannabis in Bulgaria: Legal but still stigmatised
Bulgarian legislation on the legal cultivation of cannabis makes for interesting reading. Some readers might feel that the regulations and definitions are the most hilarious things ever, and this article aims to shed light on why this may be, while running you through some legalities.
Cyber-attacks and business secrets - Protection under criminal law
Business secrets are essential assets of companies, and are often the reason for a company having a competitive lead in a market. Thus, they constantly seek to develop new technologies, algorithms or software to create such intangible assets.
18 July 2019
Management's liability for payments upon onset of insolvency
A financial crisis and situations where insolvency is imminent are not only challenging for a company and its management, but also entail significant liability risks for management in the case of subsequent insolvency proceedings.
Constitutional Tribunal finds undertakings have right to appeal against consent to conduct searches
The Constitutional Tribunal recently analysed regulations regarding dawn raids carried out by the Office for Competition and Consumer Protection (OCCP) and ruled that the respective law is not in line with the Constitution insofar as it excludes the possibility to challenge rulings allowing searches to be conducted.
New law on unfair trade practices in the food retail sector
Slovakia has a history of legislation focused on regulating business to business relationships in the food retail sector. Since 2004, four different acts have attempted to curb certain practices of food retailers and their suppliers in order to strike a fair balance in their business relationships.
New rules on handling of employee data
In April 2019 – almost one year after the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) entered into force – Parliament adopted a new law amending several sectorial laws concerning the processing of personal data. In particular, the new law has amended the Labour Code's general provisions on the processing of employee data.
24 June 2019
New EU Restructuring Directive: A game changer for restructurings?
The list of successful restructurings outside insolvency proceedings is as long as it is confidential. Every year, companies of all sizes are stabilised and sustainably restructured without the stigma of insolvency proceedings.
12 June 2019
Say on pay and related party transactions: implementation of EU Shareholder Rights Directive II
The EU Shareholder Rights Directive II (2017/828) (SRD II), amending Directive 2007/36/EC as regards the encouragement of long-term shareholder engagement, must be transposed into national law by 10 June 2019.
Public liability based on incorrect land register entries is limited
Incorrect land register entries may trigger public liability. But in a recent decision the Austrian Supreme Court (1 Ob 198/18a) held that incorrect land register entries can only constitute public liability claims for a certain group of people.
Exit strategies: registering a share transfer when target shares are encumbered by third parties
The stock market's flexibility is its greatest selling point for publicly traded companies, as it allows a fast flow of capital while still enabling majority shareholders to implement fundamental corporate changes should they wish to exit the market.
CPC clears Domuschievi brothers' acquisition of Nova TV
In March 2019 the Commission for the Protection of Competition (CPC) cleared the acquisition of Nova Broadcasting Group AD (Nova TV) by Advance Media Group EAD, which is owned by the well-known Bulgarian businesspeople Kiril and Georgi Domuschievi.
A second chance for the renewables sector?
The Romanian Ministry of Energy recently finalised the public debate of a document outlining a new mechanism for supporting low-carbon electricity generation, in the form of a Contract for Difference (CfD) scheme.
Increased and uniform protection is coming: EU adopts new rules protecting and encouraging whistleblowing
Scandals from Danske Bank to LuxLeaks and the Panama Papers would never have come to light were it not for insiders who dared to expose major wrongdoings within companies and organisations.
09 April 2019
Austria: What does "limited space" mean under the Act on Distance Contracts and Off-Premises Contracts?
Directive 2011/83/EU of 25 October 2011 on consumer rights (the "Directive") and the Fern- und Auswärtsgeschäfte-Gesetz (the "FAGG") impose many information obligations on traders before the consumer is bound by a distance or off-premises contract, or any corresponding offer.
03 April 2019
Czech Republic: Health products distributor fined for resale price maintenance
The Office for the Protection of Economic Competition recently fined Czech health products supplier TCM Herbs Kc853,000 (approximately €33,500) for resale price maintenance (RPM).(1)
Good news for creditors: Austrian Supreme Court strikes down significant impediment to creating valid collateral in Austria
The Austrian Supreme Court has abolished its former line of decisions on the recognition of collateral granted by way of security transfer (Sicherungsübereignung) under foreign jurisdiction. From now on, Austrian courts will have to recognise such collateral even if it does not comply with Austrian publicity requirements (Pubilzitätserfordernissen).
Bulgaria: Proposal for EU Directive on unfair trading practices in business-to-business relationships in the food supply chain
Can European farmers be certain that a bottle of milk or a kilo of apples will remain more expensive than a bottle of mineral water?
13 March 2019