At the beginning of October 2020, the prime minister has announced that the Hungarian Government continues the family protection measures and for this purpose, the VAT tax rate of new flats will be again 5% instead of the general VAT rate of 27% in case of constructions commenced until 31 December 2022.
Economic recovery in Budapest (and Hungary) is predicted to follow an elongated L-shape curve, meaning that the effects of the pandemic are to be present and felt until at least 2023. As a kind of crisis management contribution by the sectors that were less affected by the pandemic, companies operating in these sectors would be expected to be temporarily more involved in public burden-bearing to alleviate the negative economic effects of COVID-19 in Budapest.
In addition to the classic tasks of a competition authority, the Hungarian Competition Authority ("HCA") is also entitled to take action against unfair commercial practices against consumers if such practices are capable of significantly affecting competition. Following the first market study in the field of consumer protection in 2019 relating to the application of digital comparison tools (DCTs), the HCA did not hesitate to apply its findings in practice. In early 2020 it imposed a record fine on Booking.com BV for unfair commercial practices of misleadingly advertising certain hotel rooms with "free cancellation" and engaging in pressure selling. This is now followed by a decision establishing unfair practices of the biggest local market player, Szallas.hu, a main competitor of Booking.com. However, this time no fine was imposed.
Despite some political and legal debates between Hungary and the European Union, Baker McKenzie Partner Marton Horanyi, who also co-heads the firm’s Antitrust and Competition practice group in Hungary, says, “not much out of the ordinary” is going on, politically. “In fact, investors in Hungary appreciate that things have been rather stable now for the past few years.”
At the time of the COVID-19 pandemic, remote working became the “new normal” in many industries: large numbers of people who had previously worked and commuted across the border within the EU or Switzerland, had been forced to work from home. Telecommuting, however, worked out so well that most people would want to continue in this way. However, in terms of taxation, this can put them on thin ice, and not just them, but the companies employing these workers.
On September 9, 2020, CEE Legal Matters reported that the Kapolyi Law Firm had advised Duna House, a property brokerage group in Central and Eastern Europe, on its participation in the National Bank of Hungary's Growth Bond Program. CEEIHM spoke with Duna House Chief Financial Officer Daniel Schilling to learn more.
The extended deadline for implementing Strong Customer Authentication (“SCA”) expires on 31 December 2020. Originally, Hungarian laws prescribed 14 September 2019 as a deadline for the implementation of the new SCA, however, in parallel with the decision of the European Banking Authority, a new deadline has been set to 31 December 2020 by the Hungarian National Bank.
Noerr has advised UniCredit on financing it provided to South Korean real estate investment trust JR AMC for its acquisition of the Nordic Light Trio office building in Budapest from Skanska. Partos & Noblet — the Budapest office of Hogan Lovells — advised JR AMC on both the financing and the underlying acquisition, while Kinstellar advised Skanska.
DLK Legal in Poland and Kinstellar in Hungary and the Czech Republic have advised Infosys on its EUR 30 million acquisition of GuideVision. Osborne Clarke’s offices in the Netherlands, United Kingdom, and Germany, Sorainen in Belarus, and Castren & Snellman in Finland, reportedly also advised Infosys on the deal. Havel & Partners reportedly served as GuideVision’s advisor in the Czech Republic.
The coronavirus pandemic has an unprecedented effect on economy on a global level. Similarly to central European countries, the special situation caused by COVID-19 had an adverse effect on the performance of most branches of the national economy in Hungary as well. The Hungarian GDP declined with a historical 13.6% in the third quarter of 2020 compared to the same period of 2019.
The COVID-19 pandemic and the physical distancing measures force many employers to introduce telework (working from home) on a large scale. In order to respond the current challenges, in September 2020 the Hungarian Government set the objective to reform the regulations on teleworking. The purpose of the new rules is to allow more employers to introduce telework and also to make the regulation more flexible.