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After years of anticipation, the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) entered into force and took effect on May 25, 2018, bringing about several changes to Europe’s current data protection regime.

The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation is, according to the EU-hosted GDPR website, “the most important change in data privacy regulation in the past 20 years.” The Act, which was approved by the EU Parliament on April 14, 2016 and will become fully effective on May 25, 2018, was designed “to harmonize data privacy laws across Europe, to protect and empower all EU citizens’ data privacy, and to reshape the way organizations across the region approach data privacy.”

Last year was a good year for the Bulgarian economy, which registered 3.6% GDP growth. The Bulgarian Government plans to further boost the economy in 2018, and initial projections vary from 3% to 4% growth. The main trigger for this will be the continuation of spending public funds on strategic infrastructure projects.

The winners of the 2017 CEE Deal of the Year Awards were announced at the first ever CEE Legal Matters Deal of the Year Awards Banquet last night in Prague. The biggest smiles in the joyous and music-filled celebration of CEE lawyering, perhaps, were on the faces of Partners from Avellum and Sayenko Kharenko, which, along with White & Case and Latham & Watkins, won the award both for Ukrainian Deal of the Year and CEE Deal of the Year for their work on the 2017 Ukraine Eurobond Issue (a story initially reported by CEE Legal Matters on October 2, 2017).

The European Commission has just published its comprehensive proposal for the so-called "New Deal for Consumers", which aims to strengthen EU consumer rights and enforcement. This includes the proposal for a new Directive enabling certain qualified entities to seek redress on behalf of consumers who have been harmed by an unlawful commercial practice.

“Generally, the Bulgarian economy is on an upward path, so law firms are busy,” reports Kinstellar Bulgaria Managing Partner Diana Dimova, who describes increased M&A activity, a strong demand for regulatory advice, and significant public sector opportunities.

Venture capital investments in Bulgarian start-ups are on the rise, and modern legal structures such as share option plans and convertible notes can, if local law peculiarities are taken into account, be applied in the country.

One of the defects of the Bulgarian tax system and of the enforcement authorities in Bulgaria – the lack of direct access to information for the purposes of administrative cooperation (the automatic exchange of information) between the relevant authorities and legal entities – is on its way to being resolved.

According to Ilko Stoyanov, Partner at Schoenherr in Bulgaria, although his country has a very small legal market, which means that it is difficult to identify trends and to forecast the future, non-performing loans, the GDPR, and the rapid growth of artificial intelligence are topics that will definitely keep lawyers wired throughout 2018.

Georgiev, Todorov & Co. (GTC), working with Sidley Austin, has successfully represented the Russian company Atomstroyexport in a dispute with the Bulgarian National Electric Company (NEC) before a three-member panel of the International Court of Arbitration at the International Chamber of Commerce in Geneva involving the Belene nuclear power plant. NEC was represented by White & Case.

Women’s Day is behind us, but the subjects of gender equality and equal opportunity are of year-round concern. This, the first part of a special two-part CEE Legal Matters article on women in private practice in CEE, provides the numbers and percentages from leading law firms across CEE, as well as a more thorough snapshot of one representative market. Part II of the report, in the June issue, will pull back the curtain even more, providing feedback and perspectives from lawyers across the region.

Bulgaria Knowledge Partner

Schoenherr is a leading full-service law firm providing local and international companies stellar advice that is straight to the point. With 15 offices and 4 country desks Schoenherr has a firm footprint in Central and Eastern Europe. Our lawyers are recognised leaders in their specialised areas and have a track record of getting deals done with a can-do, solution-oriented approach. Quality, flexibility, innovation and practical problem-solving in complex commercial mandates are at the core of our philosophy.

Firm's website: www.schoenherr.eu

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