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Business is good in Bulgaria at the moment, according to Ilko Stoyanov, Partner at Schoenherr in Sofia. He draws particular attention to the real estate market — especially the shopping mall segment, which has seen four Sofia malls change owners already this year. Stoyanov isn’t able to pinpoint a particular reason for the boom, but notes that two of the malls (The Mall and the Serdika Center) are expected to be sold to a "sizeable investor”  New Europe Property Investments. The price of real estate has increased in 2017, according to Stoyanov, “reaching levels close to before the financial crisis."

Gelu Maravela, the Co-Managing Partner of Maravela⎪Asociatii, waives away the potential impact of politics on investment in the country. “There’s no election scheduled for this year anyway,” he says, “so for the next six years we’re 'at bay' on major changes.” In any event, “in terms of politics, we don’t care about it. They have their own agenda. Obviously they have some influence on it, but they can’t really contribute to our business. The private sector moves by itself.”

Despite fighting his way through a spring cold, Peter Daszkowski, Co-Managing Partner of Wolf Theiss in Poland, is sanguine about the state of affairs in Poland. "With regard to Warsaw it’s business as usual,” he says. 

“Unfortunately the situation in Macedonia is not bright” says Dragan Dameski, Partner at Debarliev, Dameski & Kelesoska in Skopje, referring to the prolonged political instability in Macedonia, and the “selective implementation of rule of law by the official institutions and bodies in power.”

“There is quite a lot going on, on both the political and economic sides” says Milan Samardzic, Partner at Samardzic Oreski and Grbovic law firm in Belgrade, although he concedes that, in the period leading up to the recent April 2 election (which resulted in the election of Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic to President), much work has been put on hold. Indeed, Serbia has gone through two straight years of elections, Samardzic points out, causing the country a more extensive period of inactivity than might otherwise have been expected.

Anthony O’Connor came to Europe from his native Australia in 2006. As a Partner at Kinstellar in Budapest, he is both head of Kinstellar’s Hungarian Corporate/M&A practice and Co-Head of its firm-wide Private Equity practice. 

Business is good in Bulgaria at the moment, according to Ilko Stoyanov, Partner at Schoenherr in Sofia. He draws particular attention to the real estate market — especially the shopping mall segment, which has seen four Sofia malls change owners already this year. Stoyanov isn’t able to pinpoint a particular reason for the boom, but notes that two of the malls (The Mall and the Serdika Center) are expected to be sold to a "sizeable investor”  New Europe Property Investments. The price of real estate has increased in 2017, according to Stoyanov, “reaching levels close to before the financial crisis."

Gelu Maravela, the Co-Managing Partner of Maravela⎪Asociatii, waives away the potential impact of politics on investment in the country. “There’s no election scheduled for this year anyway,” he says, “so for the next six years we’re 'at bay' on major changes.” In any event, “in terms of politics, we don’t care about it. They have their own agenda. Obviously they have some influence on it, but they can’t really contribute to our business. The private sector moves by itself.”

Despite fighting his way through a spring cold, Peter Daszkowski, Co-Managing Partner of Wolf Theiss in Poland, is sanguine about the state of affairs in Poland. "With regard to Warsaw it’s business as usual,” he says. 

“Unfortunately the situation in Macedonia is not bright” says Dragan Dameski, Partner at Debarliev, Dameski & Kelesoska in Skopje, referring to the prolonged political instability in Macedonia, and the “selective implementation of rule of law by the official institutions and bodies in power.”

“There is quite a lot going on, on both the political and economic sides” says Milan Samardzic, Partner at Samardzic Oreski and Grbovic law firm in Belgrade, although he concedes that, in the period leading up to the recent April 2 election (which resulted in the election of Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic to President), much work has been put on hold. Indeed, Serbia has gone through two straight years of elections, Samardzic points out, causing the country a more extensive period of inactivity than might otherwise have been expected.

“The country is still in recession” says Sergei Makarchuk, Partner at CHSH in Belarus, pointing to an approximately 3% decrease in GDP recorded in Belarus in 2016. Bankruptcy in the corporate sector is on the increase, he reports, with the economic courts’ docket “overflowing” with such cases. The purchasing power in the economy has slowly decreased as a result of lower income and decreased spending power for the middle class.

Anthony O’Connor came to Europe from his native Australia in 2006. As a Partner at Kinstellar in Budapest, he is both head of Kinstellar’s Hungarian Corporate/M&A practice and Co-Head of its firm-wide Private Equity practice. 

The Deal: In July of 2016, CEE Legal Matters reported that Oppenheim had advised the Messer Group GmbH, a German supplier of industrial gases, on its acquisition of the Hungarian subsidiary of France’s Air Liquide. CHSH Dezso es Tarsai advised Air Liquide on the deal.

Laszlo Reti, now mid-way through his third term as President of the Budapest Bar Association, takes pride in the ease with which he’s managed both the Bar and his long career as the Managing Partner of the Reti, Antall and Partners Law Firm in Budapest. Both the Bar Association and his law firm, he says, change with the times. In his words, he’s “swimming with the current.”

Wolf Theiss Budapest Partner Janos Toth Interviews Gabor Orosz, Associate General Counsel and Legal Director EMEIA of National Instruments Corporation.

What one part of your job do you enjoy most, and why?

On February 2, 2017, CEE Legal Matters reported that David Shasha, a well-known figure for several decades in CEE’s emerging legal markets, had agreed to come out of retirement to join Poland’s Domanski Zakrzewski Palinka law firm as Counsel. Shasha, who will be working in London, will co-ordinate DZP’s relationships with law firms, financial institutions, and companies located in the United Kingdom, as well as supporting DZP’s lawyers advising international and Polish clients.

On January 30, 2017, eight members of the In-House Advisory Panel for the 2017 GC Summit gathered at the offices of Squire Patton Boggs in Budapest for a Round Table conversation on the challenges they face and strategies they employ in dealing with external counsel. The event was moderated by Akos Mester, Partner at Squire Patton Boggs.

On the evening of December 8, 2016, at the Hotel Bristol in Warsaw, CEE Legal Matters hosted the 2016 Expert Summit – our annual gathering of experts from across the region to discuss the state of affairs in CEE Legal Markets. 

On Thursday, November 4, a select cross-section of Managing and other Senior Partners at a number of leading law firms in the Czech Republic together with one General Counsel gathered at PRK Partners’ offices in Prague for a Round Table conversation on the state of the Czech market. 

On October 5, 2016, representatives from the Ukrainian and Turkish business communities, from the Ukrainian Consulate-General in Istanbul, and from the co-hosting Gun + Partners and Vasil Kisil & Partners law firms met at the Gun + Partners office in Istanbul for a round table discussion, moderated by CEE Legal Matters, on the opportunities in Ukraine for Turkish investors.

On July 26, 2016, a cross-section of eminent lawyers from leading law firms in Ukraine gathered at DLA Piper’s Kyiv office for a wide ranging Round Table conversation about the state of the Ukrainian economy and legal market and their expectations for both going forward.  

On Tuesday, July 11, 2016, ten senior Romanian lawyers gathered at the Bucharest office of Wolf Theiss for a CEE Legal Matters Round Table to discuss the state of the Romanian economy, the Romanian legal market, and their expectations for the future.

Until 2009 legal marketing was overregulated in Hungary. Since then lawyer ads are basically allowed, but they have to comply with the Hungarian Bar Association’s guidelines. 

For the last couple of years the issue of attracting foreign investments into Ukraine has loomed large. However, attracting such investment is hardly possible without creating the proper investment climate and implementing necessary reforms. One necessary step is transforming Ukrainian corporate law.