"Data Protection matters have kept us extremely busy this year," Gjorgji Georgievski, ODI Law Partner in North Macedonia and Regional Head of TMT Group, reports, primarily as a result of the looming end of the transition period of the new data protection law in the country.
The year of 2020 was marked, in North Macedonia as elsewhere, by the COVID-19-induced economic crisis, which will obviously extend well into 2021. Despite the high hopes that the pandemic would be brought under control with mass vaccination programs, the North Macedonian economy’s return to pre-Covid status within the current year is highly unlikely.
The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Economy of North Macedonia (“Ministry”) recently pointed out that 577,662 ha are classified as arable land in North Macedonia, while 41% of this land is state-owned. It also noted that the current applicable Law on Sale of State – Owned Agricultural Land (“Law”) has many ambiguities and systemic weaknesses, which prevent its full implementation.
Akin Gump, Bogdanovic, Dolicki & Partneri, Maric & Co, Isailovic & Partners, Harrisons, Zdolsek Attorneys at Law, Boga & Associates, Popovski & Partners, and Forgo Damjanovic & Partners have advised Croatian conglomerate Fortenova Grupa d.d., on the EUR 615 million sale of its frozen food business to Nomad Foods. Norton Rose Fulbright, Lakatos, Koves & Partners, and five firms from the SEE Legal alliance advised Nomad Foods on the deal, which is expected to close in the third quarter of 2021.
Paksoy has advised Migros Ticaret AS on the sale of 99% of its subsidiary Ramstore Macedonia DOO to City Plaza DOO Skopje, which was reportedly advised by Debarliev, Dameski & Kelesoska. The transaction is expected to close in the second quarter of 2021, subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory approval.
The terms of a loan agreement dictate the circumstances in which a lender can enforce its loan, guarantee, or security interest. In North Macedonia, a lender can usually demand loan acceleration (repayment before a scheduled maturity date) if the borrower defaults under the loan agreement. Security documents state when the lender can enforce the security, usually following a default under the loan agreement or the lender’s demand for repayment when due. A lender can generally demand payment under a guarantee as soon as the borrower fails to pay any guaranteed obligation when due. However, the claim under a guarantee will be limited to the overdue amount. A lender will therefore often need to accelerate the loan before it can make a full claim against a guarantor. Typically, under the finance and the security documents, lenders have the right to accelerate and enforce loans when borrowers become insolvent.
Despite North Macedonia’s agreement to adopt its current name and its joining of NATO in March 2020, the country's EU accession process has recently taken a hit, says Polenak Managing Partner Kristijan Polenak. “Notwithstanding recognition received from the entire international community, one EU member country vetoed the start of the negotiations,” says Polenak, referring to Bulgaria’s opposition to moving forward with consideration of North Macedonia’s EU accession. This led to a “decline of internal support for EU membership, caused by disappointment with the inconsistent application of European values. This opposition in early December strengthened the political streams opposing our EU membership.”
If certain statutory conditions are fulfilled, companies obliged to pay the Macedonian Corporate Income Tax (CIT) should submit reports for their 2019 transactions with related parties to the Public Revenue Office before September 30, 2020. The 2019 financial year is the first for which CIT payers are obliged to file such reports, according to the CIT Law.
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.