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The Serbian Parliament adopted the Financial Collateral Act ("FCA") on 8 June 2018 (published in the Official Gazette of the Republic of Serbia, no. 44/2018). The FCA bill was proposed by the Serbian Central Bank (National Bank of Serbia, "NBS") on 22 May 2018 and the FCA will apply as of 1 January 2019. Financial contracts which have not been enforced by 1 January 2019 will be enforced pursuant to the existing rules that were in force before the FCA started to apply.

The Turkish Competition Board (the “Board”) has recently published its reasoned decision  with respect to its ex officio preliminary investigation on (i) the validity of the non-compete obligation in the articles of association (“AoA”) of a joint venture company, namely WKS Istanbul Tekstil Kalite Kontrol Hiz. Ltd. Şti. (“WKS Istanbul”), which is active in quality control of textiles and (ii) the parties’ request for negative clearance of the relevant non-compete obligation.

It seems not only companies but also many Member States were so busy preparing for the GDPR that they lost sight of the Trade Secrets Directive that should have been transposed into national laws by June 9. That's regrettable, because it is important legislation between "privacy", unfair competition and IP, establishing a modern and for the first time EU-wide regime for the protection of trade secrets.

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

Implementation of large-scale real estate development projects almost always requires the simultaneous development of new or upgrades to existing public infrastructure necessary for the unimpeded use of the main project. Back in the old days, real estate development projects suffered, from time to time, from slow public infrastructure development since the relevant public authorities either had no interest in or had no available funds to develop the missing infrastructure.

Public private partnerships and concessions are effective tools to allow governments to partner with the private sector to develop and finance key infrastructure projects. These forms of collaboration are particularly relevant in Russia, where infrastructure investment needs are estimated by the World Bank to be about USD 1 trillion.

In December 2017, CMS published the latest edition of its annual “Infrastructure Index” report, which compares the political, economic, and legal environments for investors in infrastructure in 40 countries and constitutes a guide to the world’s most attractive destinations for infrastructure investment. According to the report, the five most attractive destinations for infrastructure investment are the Netherlands, Canada, Germany, the United Kingdom, and Australia.

The new Lithuanian Concessions Law came into force on January 1, 2018. With the new legislation, Lithuania has adopted European Parliament and Council Directive 2014/23/EU on the award of Concession Contracts, which establishes a balanced and flexible legal framework for the award of concessions and ensures effective and non-discriminatory access to the market for all economic operators. The new Lithuanian legislation aims to ensure transparency and fair competition in the development of infrastructure and the provision of services of general economic interest, as well as the attraction of national and EU-wide private investors to the public sector.

The plans to regulate public-private partnerships have been in the program of the Montenegrin Government for at least ten years now. Despite its central importance to both the public and private sectors, a specific legislative and institutional framework in the area of PPPs is still not in place. Instead, PPPs are regulated by laws from several sectors and by the Law on Concessions. The main authoritative bodies in charge of implementing PPP projects are the Privatization and Capital Investment Council and the Concession Commission.

It’s been quite a wait, but the D4 Motorway PPP project should be coming to market in April. The project will involve the design, construction, financing, operation and maintenance of a 36 km stretch of motorway between Pribram and Pisek in the south west of the Czech Republic, with operation and maintenance of an adjacent 16 km of existing motorway.

Turkey carries its position of attraction from the foreign direct investments despite the temporary volatility from time to time. In line with the trends different sectors shine out and consequently different instruments attract investors. Real Estate sustainably carries its prominent investment instrument position due to functions and consistent yields.

Last year was a good year for the Bulgarian economy, which registered 3.6% GDP growth. The Bulgarian Government plans to further boost the economy in 2018, and initial projections vary from 3% to 4% growth. The main trigger for this will be the continuation of spending public funds on strategic infrastructure projects.

Croatia stands among the highest ranked countries when it comes to the compliance of its PPP legislative framework with international standards. Reports issued by international institutions such as the EBRD and the EIB have praised Croatia for its elaborate legal framework, strong institutional capacities, transparent procurement practices, easy access to justice (including arbitration), and a range of security instruments facilitating financing.

The constitutional and legislative structure of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) is complex since it is composed of two entities – the Republic of Srpska (RS) and the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (FBiH) – and Brcko District (BD) as a separate unit, and the legislation is adopted on the state level, entity level, and – in FBiH  – on the cantonal level. This means that in BiH as such there is no unified Law on PPP, but rather 12 laws on PPP. While the RS and BD adopted their PPP laws in 2013 and 2010, the FBiH drafted a Law on PPP in 2009 which remains in the adoption process. In addition, the cantons in the FBiH have their own set of PPP laws.

Austria is definitely lagging behind in terms of Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH) penetration: According to recent data of the FTTH Council Europe, only one country worldwide has a worse penetration rate than Austria, while other sources suggest there are two countries below Austria. For this reason many initiatives have been implemented on municipal and provincial levels to provide Austrian households and undertakings with high-speed Internet access in parts of the country where a purely commercial assessment would not justify such investments. Obviously this is not yet enough.

One week before the General Data Protection Act (GDPR) came into force on May 25, 2018, the Hungarian office of Schoenherr organized a one-day seminar to highlight some of the key elements of the regulation that companies in the real estate sector should keep in mind.

The Ukrainian government has declared its intention to implement the success story of European countries in the sphere of public-private partnerships. In order to implement those ambitious plans the government has established a Project Office for PPP to work closely with international investors and lobby for relevant legislative improvements.

Under the Turkish data protection law (“DPL”), data subjects have the right to learn who processes their personal data, the purposes and legal bases of these processing activities, and to whom and for what purposes such personal data are transferred. These rights arise from the data controllers’ obligation to inform data subjects about their processing activities. During the collection of personal data, the data controller or any other person authorized by the data controller is obliged to provide data subjects with certain information, such as the identity of the data controller and of his representative (if any), the purposes of the processing, to whom and with what purpose the processed personal data can be transferred, and the method and legal reason/basis of collection. The same article of the DPL further requires data controllers to provide information to data subjects about certain other rights, as discussed below.

The taxation of cryptocurrency transactions is a hot topic. The Austrian Ministry of Finance recently issued an interesting ruling outlining when mining for cryptocurrencies in Austria by a non-resident taxpayer may trigger a permanent establishment.

Under the Hungarian VAT Act, from 1 January 2016 instead of the general VAT tax rate of 27%, a reduced tax rate of 5% is applicable to the flats to be constructed or existing in a multi-unit residential building with a total net floor space not exceeding 150 square meters. This provision of the Hungarian VAT Act will remain in force only until 31 December 2019, accordingly, after this date the purchasers will pay for these flats a VAT of 27%.

Attila Peterfalvi, the president of the Hungarian Data Protection Authority, on 19 April 2018 made some relevant comments regarding the GDPR during an interview with a Hungarian online newspaper “Jogifórum”. He highlighted that one of the main novelties of the GDPR is the principle of accountability. The data controllers must be able to demonstrate their GDPR compliance in a documented way. This does not mean, however, that the burden of proof is on them in case of a NAIH procedure.

The National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia has on 20 April 2018 adopted amendments to the Foreign Exchange Operations Act (“FEXO”) in order to meet the requirements stemming from the Stabilization and Association Agreement (SAA) with the European Union.  These provisions, now allow, amongst other things, for the free movement of capital related to portfolio investments and short-term finance loans and credits.

The Regulation (EU) 2016/679 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 April 2016 (General Data Protection Regulation, „GDPR”) will be directly applicable as of 25 May 2018 in all organisations controlling personal data. The Hungarian National Authority for Data Protection and Freedom of Information (“NAIH” / “Hungarian Authority”) receives thousands of questions on the applicability of the GDPR. For this reason, the NAIH has published answers to some of these questions.

The squeeze-out of minority shareholders in closely held companies is one of the most controversial issues in Romania, having led to many debates both in and out of court.