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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).

In The Corner Office we ask Managing Partners at law firms across the region important questions about their unique roles and responsibilities. The question this time around: What was your favorite course in law school, and why?

Under the Hungarian VAT Act, from 1 January 2016 instead of the general VAT tax rate of 27%, a reduced tax rate of 5% is applicable to the flats to be constructed or existing in a multi-unit residential building with a total net floor space not exceeding 150 square meters. This provision of the Hungarian VAT Act will remain in force only until 31 December 2019, accordingly, after this date the purchasers will pay for these flats a VAT of 27%.

Attila Peterfalvi, the president of the Hungarian Data Protection Authority, on 19 April 2018 made some relevant comments regarding the GDPR during an interview with a Hungarian online newspaper “Jogifórum”. He highlighted that one of the main novelties of the GDPR is the principle of accountability. The data controllers must be able to demonstrate their GDPR compliance in a documented way. This does not mean, however, that the burden of proof is on them in case of a NAIH procedure.

The Regulation (EU) 2016/679 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 April 2016 (General Data Protection Regulation, „GDPR”) will be directly applicable as of 25 May 2018 in all organisations controlling personal data. The Hungarian National Authority for Data Protection and Freedom of Information (“NAIH” / “Hungarian Authority”) receives thousands of questions on the applicability of the GDPR. For this reason, the NAIH has published answers to some of these questions.

Partos & Noblet in co-operation with Hogan Lovells has advised KPMG Global Services on negotiations for a new lease agreement for space in the Advance Tower Office Buildings on the Vaci corridor in Budapest. The landlord, Futureal, was advised by solo practitioner Roland Jabronka.

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.

CMS Prague has advised private equity-backed Waterlogic, a designer, manufacturer, distributor, and servicer of purified drinking water dispensers on the acquisition of Lux Aqua Czech s.r.o. and Lux Aqua Hungaria Kft., a Czech and a Hungarian company that provides drinking water solutions for B2B clients. The sellers reportedly were represented by Hogan Lovells.

As of 1 July 2018, the provisions regulating the obligations of travel agencies in the Hungarian Commerce Act will be amended in order to comply with the EU directive on package travel and linked travel arrangements.

Update on Hungary's solar boom – significant benefit to photovoltaic projects licensed under mandatory offtake system upon applications submitted before 2017.

On 12 March 2018 the Hungarian National Bank (“MNB”) published its recommendation on the criteria on how to stipulate the minimum monetary amount of the professional indemnity insurance or other comparable guarantee. The addressees of recommendation are fintech companies, i.e. payment initiation service providers (PISPs) and account information service providers (AISPs).

This mostly occurs in the case of high volume projects where more than one general contractor performs construction work in parallel on the construction site (“multiple contractors”). It is possible to divide the tasks in a way that the contractors perform the same works but in different locations (e.g. different contractors for different buildings), while it may also happen that the client requires different contractors for different branches or distinct tasks (e.g. deep foundation phase, low voltage, BMS).

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Established in 1957, Wolf Theiss is one of the leading European law firms in Central, Eastern and South-Eastern Europe with a focus on international business law. With 300 lawyers in 13 offices located in Albania, Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia and Ukraine, Wolf Theiss represents local and international industrial, trade and service companies, as well as banks and insurance companies. Combining law and business, Wolf Theiss develops comprehensive and constructive solutions on the basis of legal, fiscal and business know-how.

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