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Albania underwent a substantial overhaul in its approach to insolvency and restructuring proceedings with the enactment of Law No. 110/2016 “On Bankruptcy” in 2017. This legislative stride replaced a prior law that had been in effect since 2002, often leading to disputes and difficulties in uniform enforcement.

Competition law reform in Albania is underway, marked by several important changes to Law no. 9121, dated 28.07.2003, “On Protection of Competition” (“Competition Law”). Within the context of harmonizing with the EU acquis, last November, the Albanian Competition Authority (“ACA”) launched a public consultation phase for the proposed amendments to the Competition Law (“Draft Law”). However, the final version of the Draft Law has not yet been submitted to Parliament.

The Law no. 55/2015 “For strategic investments in the Republic of Albania”, determines the procedures and rules applied by state bodies for the examination, approval, and support by the Albanian government of strategic investments in Albania, both domestic and foreign. The deadline for obtaining ‘Strategic Investment’ status, after being postponed several times, expired on 31 December 2023, however now a new amendment pending approval by the parliament, aims – among other things – to extend the benefits of the law until 31 December 2027.

Albania has officially implemented law no. 29/2023, dated 30.03.2023 “On Income Tax”, effective starting from 1 January 2024; repealing and replacing law no. 8438, dated 28.12.1998 “On Income Tax”, as amended. Despite successive amendments over the years, law no. 8438 is deemed outdated and inadequate in addressing the contemporary principles and methodologies associated with personal income tax and corporate income tax (the “New Income Tax Law”).

Albania's Olsi Coku has been appointed a Partner with Kalo & Associates in Tirana, in a promotion round that also included Armando Toslluku's appointment as a Special Counsel and Frensis Nakuci's promotion to Senior Associate.

Albania breaks new ground in its energy and financial sectors as it moves towards renewable energy and market liberalization, while significant changes are afoot in payment services and tax law, according to Tashko Pustina Partner Alban Shanaj, all of which point squarely toward a coming period of dynamic growth and opportunity.

Albania is currently contemplating the revision of its existing legislation on industrial property currently regulated by one single law i.e., Law no. 9947, dated 7.7.2008 “On Industrial Property”, as amended. The existing law governs all domains of industrial property and business secrets, including patents of invention, utility models, trademarks, industrial designs, and geographical indications.

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.

Albania is undergoing transformation, with a burgeoning focus on tourism and renewable energy, according to CMS Managing Partner Mirko Daidone. While the legal frameworks are aligning with EU standards and the IT sector is thriving, affordability is decreasing and the country faces talent drain challenges.

Albania is taking significant steps towards ending its five-year prohibition on sports betting, with a draft law recently passing for consideration in the Albanian Parliament. The initial Gambling Law of 2015 defined permissible games of chance, regulated industry conditions, and outlined oversight responsibilities. However, since 2018, Albania has strictly banned gambling activities, except for those within state-sanctioned casinos.

Albania is making significant changes to its gambling laws. The Albanian government has been actively revising its gambling regulations, with the latest amendments poised to usher in a new era for the industry. Recent developments and what they mean for the future of gambling in the country are explored below.

During the past year, the competition enforcement activities of the Albanian Competition Authority (ACA) have seen a considerable increase. The ACA approved 99 decisions, a record since its establishment 17 years ago, and fines during the year were the highest imposed in the last five years. Most of the ACA decisions were related to approvals of merger transactions, followed by decisions on market conduct investigations.

On 07.07.2023, the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Albania adopted the Decision "On the determination of entry, residence, and employment in the Republic of Albania of foreign nationals, employees of an IT company" (hereinafter referred to as the “Decision”).

On Friday 21 July 2023, the Albanian Parliament adopted a law which legalizes medical cannabis and industrial hemp (“Cannabis Law”). The Cannabis Law allows licensed companies to cultivate and process cannabis and determines the criteria which must be met to obtain such a permit, but also regulates the cultivation process of the plant and the production of its by-products for medical and industrial purposes.

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