The recent peaceful transition of power following parliamentary and local elections in Kosovo demonstrated the country’s commitment to democratic values, according to Vokshi & Lata Law Firm Partner Urim Vokshi.
In 2016, Kosovo adopted Law No. 05/L-082 on Natural Gas (the Natural Gas Law). The purpose of the law was to lay down a legal basis for the establishment of a legal framework that will govern the transmission, distribution, supply, usage, and storage of natural gas. The Natural Gas Law is deemed to be aligned with EU law, including Directive No. 2009/73/EC on common rules of the internal European natural gas market and Regulation No. 715/2009/EC on conditions of access to natural gas transmission networks.
The right to privacy that is guaranteed by the Constitution of the Republic of Kosovo is embodied in the new Law on Protection of Personal Data, which was approved in January 2019 as an amendment and supplement to the old law, which had been in force since 2010. With the introduction of the new LPPD, Kosovo has implemented an advanced and comprehensive regulatory and institutional framework for data protection, incorporating the main principles and provisions of the EU General Data Protection Regulation.
The pharmaceutical sector in Kosovo is undergoing three major policy and legal reforms to increase its competitiveness and transparency. These reforms are part of a national project to improve the underdeveloped and under-regulated pharmaceutical market which would, in turn, encourage increased spending in the healthcare and pharmaceutical sector.
Acquisition of property ownership in Kosovo is regulated by the Law on Property and Other Real Rights. The Law on Property, along with the Law on Cadaster, sets out the process of acquisition and registration of property in Kosovo. The Law on Property regulates the creation, content, transfer, protection, and termination of real rights, while the Law on Cadaster regulates the basis for the registration and recognition of the real rights by creating cadastral units for parcels, buildings, part of buildings, and utilities.
Draft legislation, including a draft law to create a Commercial Court and a draft Civil Code, is at the top of the agenda for lawyers in Kosovo, according to Ramaj, Palushi, Hajdari & Salihu Partner Mentor Hajdaraj, who also points to several ongoing foreign investment disputes of significance to the country's overall FDI strategy.
The COVID-19 pandemic hit the Western Balkans right during a period of accelerating economic activity and a promising economic outlook for 2020. The rapid spread of the virus forced the governments of the Western Balkans countries to introduce protective measures, lockdowns, and temporary business shutdowns. These restrictions had a devastating direct economic impact on a wide range of sectors – particularly the hospitality and transport industries – and the measures had many indirect side effects that significantly decreased economic activity.
The SEE Legal law firm alliance has announced the formal launch of two new practice groups, one dedicated to Employment and Immigration, headed by Kolcuoglu Demirkan Kocakli Counsel Maral Minasyan, and one dedicated to Intellectual Property, headed by Selih & Partnerji Partner Natasa Pipan Nahtigal.
The energy infrastructure in Kosovo has not undergone major change over the past few decades. Due to high reserves of lignite, 97% of Kosovo’s electricity generation comes from two aging coal power plants. Unfortunately, lignite-coal of the kind found in Kosovo is among the most polluting and least efficient sources of energy. Consequently, Kosovo’s infrastructure is outdated and a major source of air pollution.
“The current political situation in Kosovo is fragile, since the assembly, in the middle of the COVID-19 crisis, dismissed the government of Prime Minister Albin Kurti in a no-confidence vote on March 25, 2020, triggering a huge political crisis in the country,” says Fisnik Salihu, Partner at the RPHS Law Firm in Pristina. The government was dismissed, he says, “mainly after a dispute between coalition partners over whether to declare a state of emergency and the way the dialogue with Serbia should be handled in the future.”
According to Sabina Lalaj, the Local Legal Partner of Deloitte Legal in Albania and Kosovo, the current situation in Kosovo revolves around the unfortunate combination of the still-growing Covid-19 pandemic and the political crisis arising from the recent dismissal of Interior Minister Agim Veliu — a member of the Democratic League of Kosovo party, the junior partner leader of the country’s fragile governing coalition — by Prime Minister Albin Kurti, a member of the senior Vetevendosje (“Self-Determination”) party. The combination of the two crises has put the country’s growth on hold, and significantly limited any chance of effective government.
In addition to their traditional role guiding companies through legal and regulatory waters and managing disputes, General Counsels are increasingly called upon to provide input on strategic matters. An expert panel at the second annual Balkan GC Summit considered how this change in the nature of the General Counsel role is manifesting itself in the countries of the former Yugoslavia.
Dentons has advised Enlight Renewable Energy on the construction and EUR 115 million financing of the 105 MW Selac wind farm in Kosovo. The EBRD provided EUR 57 million of the total amount, with Erste Group Bank and NLB Bank providing the remaining EUR 58 million, and with coverage provided by the German export credit agency Euler Hermes. The lenders were reportedly advised by White & Case.