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Government institutions in Turkey are continuing to take various measures to mitigate the economic impact of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. At its meeting on April 2, 2020, the Energy Market Regulatory Authority (EMRA) adopted a new decision (the “Decision”) accepting the COVID-19 pandemic as a “force majeure” event under Article 35 of the Electricity Market Licensing Regulation (the “Licensing Regulation”) and Article 19 of the Regulation on Unlicensed Electricity Production in the Electricity Market (the “Unlicensed Regulation”). The decision was published in the Official Gazette on April 4, 2020.

The adoption of the new Law on Energy of North Macedonia in 2018 established the foundations for stability, competitiveness, and economic functionality of the energy sector. In addition, the Energy Law declared the promotion of renewable energy sources and encouraging energy efficiency a priority. This, in a short time, has contributed to increased investment in the field of renewables.

The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed the vulnerability of supply chains worldwide, creating an increased awareness of the need to protect critical domestic infrastructure. On April 3, 2020, the Austrian Parliament adopted a motion encouraging the Minister for Digital and Economic Affairs to put forward (“as soon as possible”) a government bill designed to protect companies in key industries from takeovers by third country entities. Eight weeks later the resulting bill was presented to the public.

The EU has been preparing for a substantial transition of its energy sector to address the urgency of climate change. The Czech Republic has proposed raising the share of its renewable energy sources (RES) in the gross final energy consumption from the current 15% (approximately) to 22% by 2030 to contribute to the EU-wide goal of obtaining 32% of gross final energy consumption from RES by the same year. This means there will be a focus on developing RES in the Czech Republic, and the Czech government also plans to substantially strengthen the role of nuclear energy while allowing the coal-fired energy to decline.

CMS has advised the EBRD and Raiffeisen Bank Serbia on a EUR 30 million financing extended to CTP Property companies in Serbia for the purpose of refinancing of the existing financial indebtedness and for the development, construction, and operation of light manufacturing and warehouse facilities.

CMS and Sweden's Wistrand law firm have advised Nordex SE on its execution of a put option agreement for the potential sale of Nordex's European wind and photovoltaic development pipeline to RWE. Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and WKB Wiercinski, Kwiecinski, Baehr reportedly advised RWE on the transaction.

“Romania's Liberal government has recently announced a new program of investment," says Horea Popescu, CMS Partner and Head of Corporate M&A in CEE. “The goal behind the program is an economic relaunch. The government has only published a white paper so far, which is currently being debated and commented on.” 

In February, the EU Commission issued its new White Book on Artificial Intelligence – a European Approach to Excellence and Trust. The White Book is the prelude to a new EU regulatory framework for AI that aims to minimize the risks of AI and seize the opportunities it offers.

From 1 January 2021, foreign nationals will be able* to enter Russia with electronic visas at border control posts to be specified by the Russian government in a separate document.

CMS has advised KEXIM, the Export-Import Bank of Korea, on a USD 36 million financing deal with Grain Terminal Holdings — a Singapore-based joint venture between Posco International and the Orexim Group. Posco International was advised by South Korea's Jipyong law firm, and the Orexim Group was advised by Harneys' Cyprus office.

NKO Partners has advised CTP on financing of EUR 13.5 million from the EBRD for real estate project development in Serbia. CMS advised the EBRD on the transaction.

Schoenherr is reporting that the United Group's EUR 1.2 billion acquisition of Vivacom (Bulgarian Telecommunications Company EAD), the largest telecom operator in Bulgaria — the deal that was signed in November 2019 and won CEE Legal Matters' 2019 Deal of the Year for Bulgaria — has closed. Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison acted as lead English counsel to the United Group, while CMS and Kambourov & Partners were, respectively, English and Bulgarian counsel to the sellers.

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