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In The Debrief, our Practice Leaders across CEE share updates on recent and upcoming legislation, consider the impact of recent court decisions, showcase landmark projects, and keep our readers apprised of the latest developments impacting their respective practice areas.

The fifth anniversary of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in Croatia has ushered in an unforeseen and substantial transformation in the sphere of data protection. This notable shift is characterized by a surge in enforcement actions led by the Croatian data privacy watchdog, commonly known as the Personal Data Protection Agency (DPA – in Croatian AZOP). In stark contrast to the relatively quiet initial three years following the enactment of the GDPR (2018-2021) in Croatia, 2023 has become a turning point, witnessing a seismic shift in Croatian data protection enforcement.

According to the government, the act is designed to tackle certain perceived downsides of excessive tourism, such as the lack of affordable long-term accommodation for the housing needs of the local population, a negative impact on the environment (especially the sea, sea coast, and islands), as well as a negative impact on cultural heritage sites.

Ukrainian civilian infrastructure, particularly its vital components such as energy facilities and seaports, was heavily targeted by Russian missile strikes, causing severe damage. Combined damage to civilian infrastructure and energy industries already exceeds USD 50 billion. Since the beginning of hostilities, 18 airports, at least 344 bridges and overpasses, and over 25,000 kilometers of roads were damaged.

Large energy companies are taking measures to become green in order to meet targets to reduce carbon emissions. The main stakeholders – investors, customers, rating agencies, and regulators – are pushing energy companies to set more environmental, social, and governance goals publicly. For these companies, the “E” in ESG should be the foundation of their strategy.

As Ukraine is fighting off the brutal invasion by the Russian Federation, the Ukrainian M&A market is at its lowest point, at least in terms of the number of deals, since 2000. Still, interesting trends are emerging and there is great hope for a bright future.

The reconstruction of Ukraine – critical infrastructure, housing, hospitals, and social facilities – is already underway. This major effort has been significantly assisted by international support. Ukraine’s commitment to transparency, coupled with specific regulations under martial law, has been instrumental in achieving this progress.

As the full-scale war continues into the second year, Ukrainian companies are facing unprecedented difficulties with attracting capital which is desperately needed to restore their day-to-day business operations and production halted by the military aggression. Predictably, international debt capital markets remain inaccessible not only to Ukrainian private borrowers but also to sovereign entities. The unpleasant situation worsens with high costs of borrowing, which have skyrocketed even more for Ukrainian borrowers since the outbreak of the war due to unsustainable country risk.

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