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Almost 20 years ago, the Russian Government decided to develop a renewable energy sector and promote renewable energy projects in the country. These efforts brought huge investments and complex technologies to the Russian renewable energy sector, which now features major global industry players like Vestas, Fortum, Siemens, Enel, and Lagerwey.

In December 2018, the Croatian Parliament adopted amendments to the Renewables Act and the Government adopted two implementing regulations, which jointly apply as of January 1, 2019 (the “2019 Amendments”). In this article we briefly outline the 2019 Amendments and then discuss how they affect the current Croatian incentives system for renewable energy sources (RES) and new investments in RES.

In honor of CMS Budapest’s 30-year anniversary – the Pearl anniversary, formally, in the city often called the Pearl of the Danube – we reached out to several of the prominent partners to learn a bit more about the changes they’ve seen over the years, and the practices they manage.

CMS lawyers Andrea Potz in Austria, Jelena Nushol in Croatia, Marek Oleksyn and Lukasz Dynysiuk in Poland, Petra Corba Stark and Michal Hutan in Slovakia, and Tetyana Dovgan in Ukraine have been promoted to the firm's partnership as part of its 2019 global promotion round.

Switching to electric vehicles has become a trend, in Ukraine as across the world. Few are aware that, according to 2017 InsideEVs (the global platform that analyzes electric vehicle markets) Ukraine is among the top ten countries with the highest rate of electric vehicle sales.

In recent years, Russia has experienced intense development in its automotive industry. After the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the subsequent deep economic crisis, it quickly became apparent that the Russia’s automotive industry was unable to meet the needs of the newly developing automotive market in Russia. National producers lost market share to foreign manufacturers despite high import custom rates. Russian consumers were not willing to buy technically outdated national products and were looking for foreign brands.

The automotive industry is facing several changes that will shape the future of mobility and production. The car of the future will be electric, connected, and automated, and it will provide benefits for individual consumers and society as a whole. One major message of the recent Automotive in Transition Conference in Budapest was that the automation revolution is bringing challenges, but it is also bringing new opportunities for Hungary to emerge stronger from the transition process.

On the eve of a widely-expected global economic downturn, the Croatian economy finally emerged from “junk” investment status, and rating agencies now rank it as “investment” tier. Formal confirmation of this new status is expected to come in the course of spring 2019 – when the first signs of a slowdown in the local economy are already signalled. The country’s GDP is growing shyly but persistently and after five years of membership in the EU there is a visible uplift in the trade balance with export of goods and services (predominantly with other EU-member countries) as the main driver.

Legislation and Strategic Changes in the Bulgarian Energy Sector: Several amendments were made to Bulgaria’s energy laws in 2018 facilitating the further liberalization of the energy market. Renewable energy producers exceeding 4 MW installed capacity that enjoyed offtake of their energy at Feed-In Tariff (FiT) were introduced to a different support scheme: Contracts for Premium (CfP), which became effective on January 1, 2019. Under CfP, renewables sell their electricity to the free market – either to the Independent Bulgarian Energy Exchange (IBEX) or to their balancing group coordinators.

In The Corner Office we ask Senior and Managing Partners across Central and Eastern Europe about their unique roles and responsibilities. The question this time around: “What is the one skill, ability, or characteristic that fresh law school graduates in your country most commonly lack?”

Solivan, the Polish member firm of Pontes The CEE Lawyers network, has advised German project developer WKN on the sale of the 42 MW Barwice wind farm at the end of 2018 and the 132 MW Jasna wind farm now to Germany's Wirtgen Invest Energy GmbH and Stadtwerke Munchen, respectively. Wirtgen Invest was represented by SSW Pragmatic Solutions and Stadtwerke Munchen was advised by CMS in Germany and Poland.

CMS has advised the ESPIRA private equity fund on the acquisition, made with ICON's executive management team, of ICON Communication Centres, an award-winning provider of multilingual contact centre services, from the joint administrators of former energy broker Utilitywise Plc. The Czech Republic's FORLEX law firm advised Icon management, and Pinsent Masons reportedly advised the administrator.