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The western Balkan countries of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, Serbia, and the Republic of Macedonia share the desire to join the European Union. Two of these countries — Albania and Macedonia — are particularly close to accession. we spoke to several lawyers to learn more about how accession could affect the business landscape and the work of lawyers in the two countries.

Kosovo declared its independence on February 17, 2008, nine years after the 1999 conclusion of its conflict with Serbia, during which time it operated under the protection of the United Nation Mission in Kosovo. The post-war climate in the country was full of hopes for new beginnings, and in 2008 the newly sovereign state began the process of establishing effective and fair legislation, developing an independent economy, and building a protective environment for its citizens. 

The editors of CEE Legal Matters have very kindly asked me to contribute this month’s guest editorial and I am afraid in return I am going to pose a very impertinent question. The question I wish to ask is: is there any such thing as “CEE Legal Matters”?

David’s editorial in our last issue included a brief explanation as to how CEELM came to be, and included the words: “Because CEE as a thing certainly existed.” I am uncertain to what extent that provided an inspiration for it, but ironically in this issue we have two pieces (see pages 4 and 38) that address, more or less directly, the question whether it still exists “as a thing” today.

As the host of the world’s 17th largest economy and 19th largest population, Turkey’s energy needs are significant – and growing. The country’s energy demand is expected to grow about 5% each year for the immediate future, and the Turkish government has announced its plans to increase the share of renewable sources in the country’s total installed power to 30% by 2023. 

The past couple of years have been particularly challenging for Turkey’s M&A market owing to the domestic and global political climate and the weakened state of the Turkish economy. According to Deloitte’s annual M&A review published earlier this year, the M&A market in 2016 witnessed a total deal volume of USD 7.7 billion through 248 deals, resulting in the lowest deal volume since 2009. 

In The Corner Office, we invite Managing Partners at law firms from across the region to share information about their careers, management styles, and strategies. Our question this time: “What mistake do young associates commonly make that is most frustrating for you?”

From Alan Ladd’s Shane to Clint Eastwood’s Man with No Name, from Julie Andrews’ Mary Poppins to Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman, and from Michael Rennie’s Klaatu to Chris Pratt’s Peter Quill, the phenomenon of help coming from far away is a familiar one. A similar dynamic can be found in CEE’s legal market.

The global flow of foreign direct investment amounted to USD 1.75 trillion in 2016, and the number of FDI projects in Europe increased by 15 percent from the previous year. It appears that the perception of Central and Eastern Europe by international investors is improving as well, as CEE received 23 percent of all FDI projects announced in Europe and 52 percent of all new jobs. According to one widely-reported survey, investors ranked CEE as the world’s third most attractive region, behind only Western Europe and the United States. 

Just recently, Radu and I brought two staff writers on board – our first, after four years in business. Their names don’t appear in this issue, but you will start seeing them, we hope, pop up frequently in future issues. In the meantime, their bylines have already started appearing on the CEE Legal Matters website.

Recent years have seen a remarkable increase in the number of international arbitration disputes involving Romanian parties. In light of its flexibility, of the freedom parties have in constituting the arbitral tribunal and choosing the seat and language of the arbitration, and the perceived speedy and effortless enforceability of arbitral awards, international arbitration has become a widely-used dispute settlement mechanism. 

I vividly remember my first deal ever. It was a debut Eurobond from a Russian corporate after the financial crisis in 1998. I was interning in the “summer boot camp” of a major ILF in Moscow right after the fourth year of my law studies. A first grip at a due diligence exercise, trying to understand what it was like to be a lawyer in private practice – not least to see if I actually wanted to be one.

Every October, for some reason, even as we lunge for the end of the year like a marathon runner approaching the tape, we find ourselves overcome with the urge to increase our output, expand our platforms, and grow our company. Last year, for instance, we decided the time had come to move to a monthly from a bimonthly publishing schedule.

For many in this world the legal profession is nothing but an appealing vocation. One has to work hard for several years to get a law degree/admission only then to obtain a lavish lifestyle and earn big bucks.  

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