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In 2019, the EU introduced the European Green Deal with clear sustainability goals to become climate neutral by 2050. Across industries, investors increasingly accept the high value of more sustainable business practices. ESG sustainability is a central consideration in business decisions in almost all economic areas. ESG covers corporate governance, environment and climate change, social and human rights, and sustainable finance. The question for companies is how they can or even must implement this and use legal instruments. However, the lack of binding law provisions, greenwashing, and the alleged sustainability of investments have undermined the importance of this topic.

In recent years, the Hungarian Competition Authority (GVH) has been extremely active in tackling highly interesting and novel issues in the digital world. The GVH commissioned a pioneer study on the importance of data in e-commerce and brought several decisions against major international players such as booking.com (for using so-classed “dark patterns”) or Apple (for using misleading terms and conditions about its Wi-Fi assistant on iPhones) as well as significant CEE players such as eMag (for misleading promotions on its online marketplace) or Alza (for aggressive commercial practices on its online site). Most of the decisions – especially where large fines were involved – have been challenged before courts, with the most recent high-level judgment coming out in the Facebook case. What happened exactly?

An in-depth look at Tamas Bereczki of Provaris Varga & Partners covering his career path, education, and top projects as a lawyer as well as a few insights about him as a manager at work and as a person outside the office.

In the past few years, Hungary has witnessed accelerated merger trends in the fields of TMT, healthcare, and energy, among others. We reached out to several competition lawyers and spoke about Hungarian merger control regulations and the role of the Hungarian Competition Authority (HCA).

All over the world, we feel the effects of global warming and a sense of urgency to take action against it. It is, therefore, a relief that Hungarian solar projects are coming online in an ever-increasing number. In order to ensure that this trend continues, we ought to take account of the challenges of the sector, not just of its opportunities.

Keyword advertising is one of the most important and most common tools in online advertising. Google Ads is the biggest platform for keyword advertising, where companies pay to have their advertisement appear above or below the natural (non-paid) results of a Google search for a certain term. Choosing the right keywords is therefore crucial for businesses to reach as many potential customers as possible.

The current Hungarian Land Registry Act will entirely be replaced by a new Land Registry Code with effect from February 1, 2023. Hereunder we briefly introduce certain rules that might have practical effects on the legal and administrative aspects of real estate development projects being implemented in Hungary.

A number of jurisdictions provide residency or even citizenship options against certain investments. Greece was one of the last countries to introduce a similar offering. An EU member state as well as a country of the Schengen area, Greece embodies the rule of law and the democratic principles of Western democracies, all in idyllic surroundings.

There is a long-standing and yet unresolved debate within the European Union on how to best provide the freedom of movement and establishment for legal entities under the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union while, at the same time, protecting the interests of public policy or security at national levels, e.g., creditors or local regulators.

Real estate is responsible for around 40% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Given the industry’s high impact, a comprehensive decarbonization strategy is essential. As environmentally conscious investors and tenants focus on zero-carbon buildings, green building ecosystems and life-cycle assessments become necessary. Accordingly, green building certification processes are needed to ensure that habitats are environmentally sustainable. These certification processes assess many building components, from ventilation systems to insulation materials, for their impact on human and environmental health.

The rules in Hungary for guarantees of origin (GO) changed at the beginning of this year to ensure the ascension of the Hungarian Energy and Public Utility Regulatory Authority (Hungarian Energy Authority) to the European Energy Certificate System, as a result of which Hungarian GOs will be accepted on international markets.

Fair commercial practices and communication with consumers have always been a mandatory requirement for all businesses but now, with the updated regulations on unfair consumer practices, communication has an even higher importance – especially in light of rapid technological developments, the growing digital space, new digital solutions, and consumers becoming more and more vulnerable, both as a result of these developments and the already two-year-long pandemic.

Over the last years and especially during the high peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the risk of being subject to harmful and systematic cyberattacks has massively increased. Although the aim of cybercriminals – to extort money – is still unchanged, their methods and targets have been developed in line with the overall increase of digitalization. In contrast to industries with a focus on sensitive data and trade secrets, such as pharmaceuticals, banks, or insurance companies, industrial companies have not focused on preventive measures against potential cyberattacks in the past. Nowadays, however, production machines are linked to each other via a network and are therefore threatened to the same extent.

New amendments to Law No. 422/2001 on the protection of historic monuments (Law 422) were posted for discussions on the website of the Ministry of Culture, on January 12, 2022, in the shape of a Government Ordinance (Bill) intended to amend and supplement Law 422. Any suggestions or opinions should have been submitted no later than January 24.

With the world slowly reaching what many scientists label “a point of no return” for climate change, countries worldwide are doing their best to combat environmental damage. To that end, the European Union has developed climate and energy targets for the upcoming decade, stating that it is “vital that we direct investments towards sustainable projects and activities.”

 CEE Legal Matters spoke with CMS Partners Agnieszka Skorupinska, Kostadin Sirleshtov, and Varinia Radu about the impact of ESG on the energy sector in CEE.

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