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According to the CEE Legal Matters CEE By The Numbers report, between 2019 and 2021, Ukraine saw a large decrease in the number of ranked law firms and lawyers at ranked firms. While in 2019 the number of Ukrainian law firms ranked by Chambers & Partners and Legal 500 was 95, in 2021 the same number decreased to 69. Similarly, the number of ranked-firm lawyers decreased from 1,579 in 2019 to 1,338 in 2021. The decreasing trend is particularly visible in comparison to other CEE countries.

Since the onset of the COVID-19 crisis, the Slovak Labor Code has changed several times. In 2021, five amendments were adopted, and new changes are expected in 2022. Although we observe progressive changes, the labor code remains quite rigid. Its provisions on remote work do not distinguish between blue-collar and white-collar jobs, which makes their implementation more demanding. Remote working, constant changes to COVID-19 pandemic rules, vaccination, health and safety, data protection, and employment termination rules – these have been the most pressing issues that have led employers to turn to their legal advisors.

The Slovakian legal market has, for quite some time, been a vibrant landscape of international law firms. Given the positioning of the central European country, and the proximity of major markets such as Austria, Poland, and Ukraine, Slovakia has been able to maintain the high number of international law firms, especially relative to other CEE jurisdictions. Taking a deeper dive into the reasons behind the persistence of such a high number of major international law firms, we reached out to legal professionals who work in Slovakia to get their insights.

“The Romanian Recovery and Resilience Plan (PNRR) forms part of an unprecedented coordinated EU response to the COVID-19 crisis, to address common European challenges by embracing the green and digital transitions, to strengthen economic and social resilience and the cohesion of the single market,” according to the European Commission.

All the countries around the world regardless of whether they are big or small, wealthy or poor, developed or developing, are facing the consequences of the coronavirus crisis. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has revealed the fragility of healthcare systems, the instability of economic structures, and the vulnerability of society.

In 2021 the renewable energy market in Ukraine has been in a crisis mode compared to the booming years of 2018 and 2019. Following the legislative changes in 2020, which decreased the feed-in tariff (FiT), the market for solar projects has been very low, except for small solar projects for households and solar projects implemented by industrial consumers to produce electricity for their own use. Primarily, such industrial consumers are aiming to reduce costs for electricity and improve their market position before the introduction of the Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism. Notwithstanding the weakening of the market for solar projects, we have observed a steady growth of wind projects. The 2020 FiT changes have decreased the wind tariff moderately and provided a cut-off day for wind projects under the FiT on December 31, 2022. This has boosted the construction of several large wind projects in 2021 and 2022. In 2022 we anticipate commissioning of almost 1 gigawatt of wind capacity, which is much higher than in 2021.

US-based and other multinational employers with subsidiaries in Bulgaria often include their Bulgarian employees in their equity plans and grant them equity awards. Implementing an international equity plan in Bulgaria for the first time can be challenging for any multinational employer, as they should ensure compliance with Bulgarian laws and regulations. Tax compliance could raise particular concerns, as Bulgarian tax law is silent on many issues and the views of the Bulgarian tax authorities lack consistency throughout the years.

Relatively high inflation and lowering deposit interest rates became characteristic for Ukraine in recent years, thus heating investors’ demand for yields. Savings have been growing continuously, boosting the segments with a higher risk appetite and propelling the development of new investment opportunities. At the same time, the domestic financial sector is undercapitalized and has few financial instruments to offer. The market, therefore, attracts the attention of various non-resident providers of financial services – from the most diversified investment banking groups to single product enthusiasts, who are asked by Ukrainian corporations and high-net-worth individuals to offer a service or specifically target potential customers.

With the ambitious plan to create in Ukraine the most powerful IT hub in Central and Eastern Europe, the Government of Ukraine has established Diia City – a special legal framework for the IT industry, in summer 2021. Currently, the legal and organizational basis for the operation of Diia City is being developed and improved. It is expected that the project will be fully launched already in the first quarter of 2022.

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