At the beginning of April 2019, the Serbian Parliament adopted the new Law on Healthcare Protection (the “Law”), with the aim of improving the legal framework and facilitate better functioning of the healthcare system in Serbia, aligning it more closely to EU standards in this field.
Pharmaceutical products have been in the spotlight of the Council of the European Union’s Product Liability Directive since its adoption in 1985. Despite the amount of time that has passed, some legal uncertainties remain that strike directly at the notion of defectiveness, as well as the causal link between the defect and the damage (which proved to be even more important in the case of pharmaceutical products). Establishing such causal link in cases involving vaccines is notoriously difficult, especially from the perspective of a lay consumer. This has led some EU member states, such as France, to introduce case law aimed at facilitating the burden of proof in specific sectors.
Karanovic & Partners has advised the German company ZF on matters related to the opening of its factory in Pancevo, Serbia, as part of the first phase of a EUR 160 million investment. The factory will start producing machines, generators for hybrid and electric drives, gearshift switches, and microswitches in the first half of June.
“It has been busy in the business arena,” says Marko Ketler, Senior Partner and Attorney at Law in cooperation with Karanovic & Partners, citing ongoing consolidation in banking sector with the potential sale of Abanka, the third largest bank in Slovenia, and recent major M&A transactions, including the sale of Intereuropa, the largest Slovenian logistics company, to Posta Slovenije. "We can expect a busy summer with several large M&A deals pending."
At the end of 2018, the Government of the Republic of Serbia extended the validity of the Decree on Incentive Measures for the Production of Electric Energy from Renewable Energy Sources and High-efficiency Cogeneration of Electric Energy and Thermal Energy (the “FIT Decree”) until the end of 2019. The FIT Decree was initially valid until the end of 2018.
After a few troublesome years during the global financial crisis, it seems like Slovenia is on a positive economic route again. On December 14, 2018, S&P Global Ratings affirmed an “A+/A-1” credit rating for Slovenia with a positive outlook. Slovenian GDP has grown in the last two years between three and four percent annually, with a growth forecast for 2019 of 3.4 percent.
After the announced reform of the public procurement procedures in 2017, at the beginning of this year the National Parliament adopted the new Public Procurement Law (“Law”). This new piece of legislation embodies the current EU public procurement rules and sets the legal landscape which is expected to result with transparent and efficient spending of public funds. The Law entered into force on 1 April 2019, but its applicability will be de facto prolonged in practice due to the start of the presidential elections.
The new Trade Secrets Act will enter into force on 20 April, introducing further clarity to Slovenian legislation with a renewed definition of business secrets. The new Act comprehensively regulates business secrets, as it uniformly defines the concept of a business secret – which was, until now, regulated in several sector-specific acts. In the event of potential violations of business secrets, the Act also provides for different protective measures and judicial proceedings.
A transformation of the legal profession is happening globally, and its effects are also felt, slowly but surely, in the law firms of Southeast Europe. Due to the changing expectations concerning the quality, speed, and commerciality of services, we are seeing a move towards even more client-oriented solutions. Traditional sectors are being replaced with emerging industries, and where we previously had slow processes, with low profit margins, we see value being generated at lightning speeds. Also, a new generation that entered the workforce recently is slowly imposing their own values and approaches, necessitating changes in structure and the values of traditional legal practices.