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Very little has changed in the Albanian legal market, according to Besnik Duraj, Partner at Drakopoulos, apart from the judicial reform introduced last year to incentivize foreign investors who have been discouraged by the judicial corruption and political instability in Albania (as described by Besnik in The Buzz he provided CEE Legal Matters on July 20, 2016).

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. 

In “The Buzz” we interview experts on the legal industry living and working in Central and Eastern Europe to find out what’s happening in the region and what legislative/professional/cultural trends and developments they’re following closely. Because the interviews are carried out and published on the CEE Legal Matters website on a rolling basis, we’ve marked the dates on which the interviews were originally published.

Data Protection - Key Changes and Important Obligations Under the GDPR

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

Thomas Anderl has been made Partner at Wolf Theiss, where he specializes in Construction law in the firm's Real Estate & Construction practice group.

“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.

31 May - 01 June 2017, Vienna - Austria Trend Hotel Park Royal Palace

Revera, in Belarus, has advised 21vek.by onan investment it received on March 31, 2017, from Zubr Capital Fund in a transaction structured under Belarusian and English law.

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. 

Despite a still-shaky business environment in the Adriatic region we have again experienced another very exciting year, which once made our transaction teams busier than they were the year before.

The Adriatic Legal Network has announced that Bosnia & Herzegovina's Sajic and Macedonia's Pepeljugoski law firms have joined the alliance formed in June of last year by Serbia's Joksovic, Stojanovic and Partners, Slovenia's Miro Senica and Attorneys, and Croatia's Kallay and Partners law firms.

We are living in a digital age. The Snowden case has placed certain aspects of personal data processing and related threats in the spotlight. The ripple effects have been seen far beyond the USA, and Bulgaria has also been affected by discussions on how personal data is used. However, personal data protection is a post factum topic when problems and questions arise. Many Bulgarians have heard about personal data, but few are interested in finding out more. The protection of personal data is, generally, not taken seriously. 

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

31 May - 01 June 2017, Vienna - Austria Trend Hotel Park Royal Palace

Even if you are not a lawyer, you must have heard about the so called “right to be forgotten.” You may know that it is a privacy right that allows you to demand removal of your personal information from web search results produced by a search engine and published on the Internet. The question is who is obligated to remove your personal data from the Internet upon your request. The answer is simple – the operator of that search engine, even if it is not located in your country of residence. For some mysterious reason, this simple answer does not appear to be clear to everyone.

31 May - 01 June 2017, Vienna - Austria Trend Hotel Park Royal Palace

Despite a still-shaky business environment in the Adriatic region we have again experienced another very exciting year, which once made our transaction teams busier than they were the year before.

Conflict of Rights

Martin Strnad has been the General Counsel of Y Soft – A Czech Software company headquartered in Brno, with offices in ten countries – since March 2016. He was previously an Attorney with Havel, Holasek & Partners and a Managing Associate with PwC Legal. Earlier still, he was a Clerk responsible for drafting bills of law and assisting in the preparation process with the Legislative Office of the Czech Ministry of Interior.

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

Almost five years after the European Commission submitted its first proposal on the reformation of the data protection landscape, a new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has finally been adopted, designed to harmonize data protection across EU Member States. The GDPR will be directly applicable in all Member States as of May 25, 2018, placing, in the interim, all interested businesses in a race against time to observe all the compliance obligations it imposes.

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

Turunc provided Turkish legal advice and the Kyriakides Georgopoulos Law Firm acted as Greek legal advisor to Israel's Rivulis Irrigation Ltd. in relation to its acquisition of 100% of the shares in the Greek company Eurodrip SA from US fund Paine Schwartz Partners, LLC. Israel's Naschitz, Brandes, Amir & Co. was lead counsel for the buyers, while Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and A. S. Papadimitriou & Partners advised the sellers.

Since the publication of Regulation No. 2016/679 of the European Parliament and Council on the protection of natural persons with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data (GDPR), it is certain that the regulatory framework of data handling and personal data protection will significantly change.

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.

Ellex Raidla has advised Ramboll Finland Oy on divestment of its shareholding in Ramboll Environment OU to Eurofins Scientific, made as part of a global transaction between the two companies involving the sale of Ramboll Finland's food and environment testing business.  

Njord's Estonian office has advised AS Testfilm on the acquisition of a business line focusing on the cure of sleeping disorders and the provision of different specialized medical services from Unimed Grupp OU. Rask Attorneys-at-Law advised Unimed Grupp on the deal, which is expected to close before May 1, 2017.

Ellex Raidla has advised Eesti Gaas on an agreement with the Tallink Group by which Eesti Gaas will provide the Megastar vessel operating between Tallinn and Helsinki with liquified natural gas.

Acting on a contract with the Policy and Management Consulting Group, Nove Partner Urmas Volens has reviewed the Draft Law on Business Organizations of the Republic of Kosovo, which was prepared by the Government of Kosovo through a working group led by the Kosovo Ministry of Trade and Industry (with support from USAID Partnerships for Development).

Schoenherr has led Kosovar mobile operator Dardafon.net LLC ("Z-Mobile") to victory in its dispute against state-owned Telecom Kosovo ("PTK") in Kosovo's largest commercial arbitration to date.

In “The Buzz” we interview experts on the legal industry living and working in Central and Eastern Europe to find out what’s happening in the region and what legislative/professional/cultural trends and developments they’re following closely. Because the interviews are carried out and published on the CEE Legal Matters website on a rolling basis, we’ve marked the dates on which the interviews were originally published.

Ellex Klavins has advised Latvian telecommunications company Unistars on its acquisition by mobile operator Bite. Sorainen advised Bite on the deal. The transaction value was not disclosed.

Deloitte Legal has advised IKEA group companies SIA Verus Praedium and SIA Paul Mason Properties regarding a construction loan and overdraft facility, both from SEB Banka.

31 May - 01 June 2017, Vienna - Austria Trend Hotel Park Royal Palace

The limits and understanding of patients’ right to confidentiality of their private personal data usually depend on the extent of the public interest in seeing it – the definition of which differs among EU Member States.

Sorainen's Vilnius office has advised design and publishing company Kopa on the implementation of a new construction project in Lithuania's Kaunas free economic zone. 

SPC Legal has assisted AB Panevezio Stiklas, a Baltic producer of glass products and processors, in its obtaining of EUR 7.3 million in financing from the Citadele bank to be "used to purchase a new glass furnace and thus to materially upgrade production activities of the company."

The Personal Data Protection Act 2005 (the “Act”) is the key legislative act that regulates personal data protection matters in Macedonia, including transfers of personal data outside of Macedonia. The Act is aligned with the EC Directive 95/46/EC (the “Data Protection Directive”). Macedonia’s obligation to align the Act with the Data Protection Directive derives from its status as a European Union candidate country, for which implementation of the EU legislation is mandatory. The Directorate for Personal Data Protection (the “Directorate”) is the Macedonian independent agency competent to oversee the Act’s implementation.

31 May - 01 June 2017, Vienna - Austria Trend Hotel Park Royal Palace

Despite a still-shaky business environment in the Adriatic region we have again experienced another very exciting year, which once made our transaction teams busier than they were the year before.

31 May - 01 June 2017, Vienna - Austria Trend Hotel Park Royal Palace

Turcan Cazac has assisted the shareholders of the Moldovan cable and pay TV operator Sun Communications in their sale of 100% of shares in the company to Orange Moldova SA, a unit of France Telecom's Internet and mobile arm Orange. Baker Botts advised the sellers as English counsel, while Orange was advised by Trevors Smith as English counsel and Schoenherr and Vernon | David as local counsel.

Kinstellar’s team in Bucharest has advised Alpha Bank Romania on the divestiture of its shares in the Chisinau-listed Moldavian bank, Victoriabank S.A., to the EBRD.

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. 

Despite a still-shaky business environment in the Adriatic region we have again experienced another very exciting year, which once made our transaction teams busier than they were the year before.

“You know, Montenegro is a very small economy, and easily affected by international developments,” says Dragan Prelevic, the Managing Partner of the Prelevic Law Firm in Montenegro.

On March 13, 2017, CEELM reported that Arcus Infrastructure Partners, an independent fund manager specializing in European infrastructure, had acquired an 85% stake in Gdansk Transport Company S.A., established to work on AmberOne A1 motorway concession in Poland. We invited Toby Smith, the General Counsel for Arcus Infrastructure Partners, to share his thoughts on the company’s first transaction in Poland.

Regulation EU 2016/679 of the European Parliament and of the Council of April 27, 2016. on the protection of natural persons with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data (the “General Regulation”), will directly apply in the EU Member States starting May 25, 2018.

Clifford Chance has advised DaVita on the acquisition of Centrum Dializa II, which runs 47 dialysis centers and nephrological wards across Poland, from Jacek Nawakowski. The Witkowski Hayder firm advised Centrum Dializa II and Nawakowski on the deal. Financial terms were not disclosed.

On the eve of the EU reform package on data protection rules coming into force, the wide disparities between the ways different public bodies process and manage citizens’ personal data have become apparent at the national and local levels.

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

NNDKP has represented a joint venture created by FCC Construccion SA, Astaldi SPA, and Contratas Y Ventas S.A. in litigation involving an award of a public procurement contract by Compania Nationala de Cai Ferate SA (CFR) entitled “Rehabilitation of the Frontiera – Curtici – Simeria Railway, part of the IVth Pan – European Corridor, for the circulation of trains with a maximum speed of 160 km/h, Section 3: Gurasada-Simeria.”

Clifford Chance has advised X5 Retail Group, a Russian food retailer, on its debut issue of RUB 20 billion guaranteed notes. Latham & Watkins advised the banks on the issuance.

During recent years issues related to the protection of personal data have been actively discussed and developed, and Russian authorities have begun paying more attention to compliance by businesses with the personal data processing rules.

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

At the moment, data protection in Serbia is primarily regulated by the provisions of the Law on Personal Data Protection, enacted in 2008, with the last amendments from 2012 (the “Law”). Naturally, a number of other laws also regulate certain aspects of data protection, and these other laws are to be interpreted together with the basic principles and general rules of the Law.

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

Zivkovic Samardzic secured what it calls "an important victory in the Administrative Court in Belgrade, against the Ministry of Economy of the Republic of Serbia."

Slovak legislation on personal data protection implementing the EU Data Protection Directive 95/46/EC is generally very strict when compared to the regulations of other EU Member states. These different rules – often, in Slovakia, excessively bureaucratic – resulting not only from legislation itself but also from its interpretation by the country’s Personal Data Protection Authority – often cause problems for both local entrepreneurs and international business groups with subsidiaries or branches in Slovakia. 

Noerr has advised Aurelius Equity Opportunities SE & Co. KGaA on the sale of Germany's Secop Group to Nidec at a valuation of EUR 185 million. The firm's team includes contributions from its Bratislava office on matters of Slovakian law. The transaction is subject to approval by antitrust authorities.

Majernik & Mihalikova has advised private investor Patrick Hessel on his investment into AeroMobil, a Bratislava-based developer of flying cars. White & Case advised AeroMobil co-founder Stefan Klein on the deal, while co-founder Juraj Vaculik was represented by the Carpathian Advisory Group. The size and value of Hessel's stake in the company was not disclosed.

Due to technological advances, it is becoming increasingly difficult for people to effectively manage the way their personal information is being collected and stored. It is thus quite surprising that the provisions of the Slovenian Personal Data Protection Act have managed to stay unchanged for almost ten years. But that does not mean that there have been no recent developments in the information privacy regulatory framework.

31 May - 01 June 2017, Vienna - Austria Trend Hotel Park Royal Palace

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. 

Legal Background

The Regulation on the Law on Applications for Turkish Citizenship ("Regulation") has been published on Official Gazette dated 12.01.2017 and numbered 29946. According to the amendment, a foreign investor who meets certain conditions mentioned under the provisions added to the Regulation can obtain Turkish Citizenship. Besides the Regulation, Land Registry Code also stipulates criteria for buying property as a foreigner in Turkey.

Turkey’s first data protection and privacy law (the “Law”) came into force on April 7, 2016. The Law, which is largely in line with the EU’s Data Protection Directive, aims to safeguard the fundamental rights and freedoms of individuals, in particular their right to privacy, with respect to the processing of their personal data.

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

An “unmanned aircraft” or “remotely piloted aircraft system” or “drone” is an aerial vehicle without a human pilot on board. Drones are designed for various uses: military, law enforcement, environmental and infrastructure monitoring, journalism, surveillance, agriculture, transportation, construction, etc. Being equipped with sophisticated geolocation, imaging, and facial recognition technologies or infrared sensors, some high-end drones can track up to 65 targets across an area as wide as 100 km, which allows for the gathering of detailed information on people – thus potentially infringing their right to privacy. The issue becomes even more worrying as drones retail at low prices that allow wide access to the technology.

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

Vasil Kisil & Partners has represented Rele Construction Company, which specializes in the construction of residential and commercial property, in the successful resolution of its dispute with the Kyiv City Council involving the termination of a land lease agreement made for 50 years.