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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).

The western Balkan countries of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, Serbia, and the Republic of Macedonia share the desire to join the European Union. Two of these countries — Albania and Macedonia — are particularly close to accession. we spoke to several lawyers to learn more about how accession could affect the business landscape and the work of lawyers in the two countries.

Slovenia: Fine-Tuning of the Tax System

In the beginning of 2018, Slovenia introduced several minor and mainly administrative changes to its tax legislation, mostly addressing and resolving inconsistencies in the legislation that had been detected in practice. 

Macedonia has started the process of liberalizing and privatizing the energy market as an obligation deriving from the Treaty establishing the Energy Community signed on October 25, 2005 in Athens (the “Treaty”).

Tatjana Popovski Buloski, Partner at the Polenak Law Firm in Skopje, says the political crisis in Macedonia last year slowed capital movement and M&A transactions. “Everybody in the business community was watching closely what was going on in the political scene,” she reports.

Macedonia has started the process of liberalizing and privatizing the energy market as an obligation deriving from the Treaty establishing the Energy Community signed on October 25, 2005 in Athens (the “Treaty”).

Macedonia’s 2013 Law on Takeover of Joint Stock Companies provides a squeeze-out right enabling a majority shareholder who has acquired at least 95% of the shares of an eligible joint stock company on the basis of a takeover bid to require the minority shareholders to sell their securities at a fair consideration.

CMS Reich-Rohrwig Hainz has opened a new office in Skopje, giving the Vienna-based member of the international CMS network a total of ten branches.

The last decade of the previous millennium set the Republic of Macedonia on a new course, with EU & NATO integration a number one priority for the country in the Western Balkans. This new course meant that reforms in almost all areas of state management were inevitable.

“Unfortunately the situation in Macedonia is not bright” says Dragan Dameski, Partner at Debarliev, Dameski & Kelesoska in Skopje, referring to the prolonged political instability in Macedonia, and the “selective implementation of rule of law by the official institutions and bodies in power.”

The government project for decrease of the unemployment, which finished at April 2016, is now going to be repeated for a second time under the same name, “Macedonia Employs II”.

Rojs, Peljhan, Prelesnik & Partners (RPPP) has advised Enterprise Investors on the acquisition by the Polish Enterprise Fund VII, which it manages, of 100% of shares in sporting good retailer Intersport ISI in a carve-out transaction from Mercator Group. According to RPPP, "the value of the transaction is up to EUR 34.5 million and the transaction transaction is conditional upon obtaining customary regulatory approvals." RPPP — a member of the TLA alliance — reports that "all other TLA law firms from the region, including JPM Jankovic Popovic Mitic from Serbia, Tkalcic-Djulic, Prebanic, Rizvic and Jusufbasic-Goloman from Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Debarliev, Dameski & Kelesoska from Macedonia" were involved as well. Slovenia’s Jadek & Pensa and Serbia’s Prica & Partners advised Mercator on the transaction.

Women’s Day is behind us, but the subjects of gender equality and equal opportunity are of year-round concern. This, the first part of a special two-part CEE Legal Matters article on women in private practice in CEE, provides the numbers and percentages from leading law firms across CEE, as well as a more thorough snapshot of one representative market. Part II of the report, in the June issue, will pull back the curtain even more, providing feedback and perspectives from lawyers across the region.

For a country struggling through the transition following its separation from the former Yugoslavia, in the past decade Macedonia has made significant progress and has invested both time and resources into promoting itself as a foreign investment haven.  

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