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Mining is significant for North Macedonia, a country with one of the longest mining histories in the Western Balkans and vast natural resources including iron ore, copper, zinc, gold, lead, and lignite. Hence, mining significantly contributes to the development of the Macedonian economy and, in particular, to the development of local governments. Specifically, a local government receives 78% of the fee paid for each concession on its territory. The regulatory framework governing mining is therefore critical for the sector’s future expansion and investment possibilities.

As 2022 approaches, North Macedonia finds itself in a little bit of a political commotion, however, there are signs that the country might see light at the end of the tunnel with energy investments coming in, according to Debarliev, Dameski & Kelesoska Partner Emilija Kelesoska Sholjakovska.

While trying to bounce back from the COVID-19 pandemic, the world is running headlong into an energy crisis, and North Macedonia will meet the same fate. The country is facing serious electricity shortages due to the rising growth of prices on the energy exchanges in Europe. This, in turn, disables the companies that trade in electricity to comply with the agreements signed with companies and institutions to whom they supply electricity on the free market. The disbalance in the demand and supply is then covered from the reserves of the transmission system operator (“TSO”) MEPSO, who is drawing electricity from the European network, thus accruing massive debt. Meanwhile, North Macedonia is trying to increase the domestic production of electricity, by activating the third block of REK Bitola, the country’s biggest producer of electricity and coal.

The Minister of Finance and the Prime Minister of North Macedonia recently presented the Plan for Accelerated Economic Development (“Plan”), intended to boost the economic development in the country and provide recovery of the economy for the period between 2022 and 2026.

The year 2020 proved to be positive for renewable energy in the EU. Data published by Eurostat shows an overall increase in the share of energy produced from renewable sources, and the share of renewable electricity exceeded that of electricity produced from fossil fuels.

In recent years, the cultivation of cannabis for medical purposes has been a “hot” topic in North Macedonia. In 2016, the country regulated the procedure for the cultivation and production of hemp and hemp extracts. Since then, in line with publicly available information, over 60 approvals for the cultivation of cannabis for medical purposes have been issued.

Data controllers and data processors had until 24 August 2021 to align with the new Law on Personal Data Protection in North Macedonia (“Law”), which introduced the GDPR in the local legislation at the beginning of 2020. Non-compliance with the new obligations for personal data protection can lead to severe penalties, such as fines of up to 2% and up to 4% of the total annual turnover from the previous financial year, per misdemeanor.

In August 2021, the Law on Financial Support of Investments (“Law”) in North Macedonia has undergone several amendments. Changes are focused on easing the conditions for application, affecting the balanced regional development, and speeding up the procedures for payment of the granted funds.

During the summer, the Assembly in North Macedonia adopted relevant amendments to the Labour Law concerning the conditions for retirement. According to the estimations by the proposers of the amendment, around 6000 employees from the public and the private sector already reached 64 years of age by the end of 2020.

"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.

CMS' Malgorzata Surdek-Janicka has been appointed as Vice-President of the International Court of Arbitration at the International Chamber of Commerce in Paris. Aside from Surdek-Janicka, 33 lawyers from CEE were appointed as members and alternate members of the court.