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In December 2017, CMS published the latest edition of its annual “Infrastructure Index” report, which compares the political, economic, and legal environments for investors in infrastructure in 40 countries and constitutes a guide to the world’s most attractive destinations for infrastructure investment. According to the report, the five most attractive destinations for infrastructure investment are the Netherlands, Canada, Germany, the United Kingdom, and Australia.

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.

Croatia stands among the highest ranked countries when it comes to the compliance of its PPP legislative framework with international standards. Reports issued by international institutions such as the EBRD and the EIB have praised Croatia for its elaborate legal framework, strong institutional capacities, transparent procurement practices, easy access to justice (including arbitration), and a range of security instruments facilitating financing.

Austria is definitely lagging behind in terms of Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH) penetration: According to recent data of the FTTH Council Europe, only one country worldwide has a worse penetration rate than Austria, while other sources suggest there are two countries below Austria. For this reason many initiatives have been implemented on municipal and provincial levels to provide Austrian households and undertakings with high-speed Internet access in parts of the country where a purely commercial assessment would not justify such investments. Obviously this is not yet enough.

CMS Prague has announced that Libor Prokes was promoted to Partner on May 1, 2018. Prokes focuses on real estate transactional work, including property sales and acquisitions, as well as leasing and constructions matters.

Slovenia: Fine-Tuning of the Tax System

In the beginning of 2018, Slovenia introduced several minor and mainly administrative changes to its tax legislation, mostly addressing and resolving inconsistencies in the legislation that had been detected in practice. 

Over the last years, Croatia has produced more electricity from renewable than from fossil sources. The share of renewables in electric energy generation varies depending on hydrological conditions, as the majority of electric energy in Croatia is generated from large hydropower plants.

For the past five years the financial market in Slovenia has been characterized by a process involving the selling of non-performing loan and leasing receivables (“Receivables”), mostly to foreign investors. According to information published by the Bank of Slovenia, Slovenian banks still have approximately EUR 1.5 billion of non-performing loans on their balance sheets, and we expect to see more of these loans being sold in the next two years. 

Investors had reason to be apprehensive about the prospects of Emerging European markets at the outset of 2017: protracted Brexit negotiations hung a cloud over Europe; Eurosceptic parties were widely expected to succeed in imminent elections; and anti-immigration and nationalistic sentiments reared their ugly head.  

CMS at a Glance

Founded in 1999, CMS is a full-service top 10 international law firm, based on the number of lawyers (Am Law 2018 Global 100). With 70+ offices in 40+ countries across the world, employing over 4,800 lawyers, CMS has longstanding expertise both at advising in its local jurisdictions and across borders. CMS acts for a large number of Fortune 500 companies and the FT European 500 and for the majority of the DAX 30. Revenues totalled EUR 1.36bn in 2018.

In Russia, CMS has been supporting its clients since 1992. The Moscow office offers a full range of legal and tax services across 21 practice and sector groups. Over 50 lawyers qualified in Russian, English, French and German law advise international clients on all matters relating to doing business in Russia and CEE, and support Russian companies doing business in Europe and other countries.

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