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For several years, ESG (Environmental, Social, Governance) standards have increased globally, the EU being a pioneer in the field through the adoption of a significant number of directives and regulations subsequently implemented at Member States’ national level in relation to these three most dynamic letters in today’s business world.

In The Debrief, our Practice Leaders across CEE share updates on recent and upcoming legislation, consider the impact of recent court decisions, showcase landmark projects, and keep our readers apprised of the latest developments impacting their respective practice areas.

While the business landscape is well-acquainted with the established Merger Control regime (MC), characterized by extensive practice and ongoing efforts by the Competition Council to streamline processes, attention must also be directed towards two additional control regimes that have been implemented: the investment control regime and the subsidy control regime.

Today, more and more companies are trying to convince consumers with the pretence of a sustainable future and environmental awareness. However, in many cases, there is no real responsibility behind such marketing activities, which are simply intended as an effective advertising ploy to make green claims.

Due to the holiday season and the legislative dumping at the end of the year, the important new milestone in the ESG field did not receive much publicity, even though Act CVIII of 2023, the ESG Act, which is the first comprehensive Hungarian regulation in the field, entered into force as of January 1, 2024. The field, which until now has mostly been covered by EU sources of law and in one Hungarian law, has finally ceased to be a stepchild and has been given the first comprehensive and unified law, which the legislator himself named the ESG Act.

As background, in December 2022, the EU Council adopted the policy programme ‘Path to the Digital Decade’, aiming to facilitate a seamless transition to digital transformation by 2030, aligning with EU values. This program sets specific digital targets for EU countries to achieve by 2030, including the development of national trajectories and strategic roadmaps to enhance digital infrastructure's security, accessibility, and sustainability. Notably, a key focus area of the EU digital strategy is digital services.

In a significant development, a provisional agreement between the Council presidency and the European Parliament has set the stage for a proposed EU law targeting businesses involved in waste generation, operation, or disposal. The agreement, which took place late last year, reflects a commitment to stricter penalties for environmental crimes, doubling the number of offences from the soon-to-be-replaced Directive 2008/99/EC.

Act Legal Botezatu Estrade Partners has recently announced it welcomed a nine-person team from Consortium Legal – including Partners Stelian Mic, Barna Bolonyi, and Valeriu Timus – in "a friendly integration and a strategic step forward."

What regulatory changes can issuers expect? For the Polish capital market, recent years have been quite intense, primarily in terms of amendments to regulations, both domestic and EU. The most significant changes in these regulations can be expected at the end of 2023.

Welcome to the captivating field of lawyering in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), where challenges and opportunities intertwine in an ever-changing landscape. With over 24 years of experience, I have had a front-row seat to witness the remarkable journey of the legal profession in this region. In this article, I’ll share my personal reflections on lawyering in CEE, discussing its progress, setbacks, and the exciting trends that have shaped its course.

With ESG having been a buzzword in the Czech real estate market for a few years now, Clifford Chance Partner Emil Holub, Kocian Solc Balastik Partner Jiri Hornik, VIDD Partner Ondrej Hampl, Taylor Wessing Counsel Radka Nenickova, and Act Legal Czech Republic Partner Tomas Slaby look at how ESG principles are being applied in practice and in what areas there is still room for improvement.

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