Something Needs to Be Done
The Spring of 2020 was about to blossom when the world got trapped in a global shutdown as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The private sector tried to adapt by activating continuity plans. Working from home and interacting online with colleagues and customers has become the new paradigm for service businesses. In addition to a wide range of social distancing restrictions designed to contain the virus (including closing down or significantly limiting public access to many commercial, government, and leisure facilities), Romanian authorities have instituted various specific temporary relief measures, such as unemployment benefits; moratoria on consumer and corporate debt, business rent, and utilities expenses; state aid schemes representing loan and guarantee facilities for small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs); guarantees for mortgage loans; filing deferral for tax returns and rescheduling of income and property tax; and waivers of mandatory insolvency filing and extension of certain stages in pending insolvency cases.
On February 11, 2020, CEE Legal Matters reported that Filip & Company, working with Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, had advised RCS & RDS / Digi Communications N.V. on its issuance of two series of senior secured bonds with a total value of EUR 850 million. Clifford Chance Badea and Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton advised the lead arrangers, which included Citibank, ING Bank N.V., and UniCredit Bank S.A.
Florina Homeghiu spent the first decade of her career in private practice before, in 2017 moving in-house with the Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Company – Romania, initially as Senior Legal Counsel, then, in 2018, as Country Legal Manager and Compliance Officer. In May of 2020 she joined the Policolor-Orgachim group.
On July 30, 2020, Law no. 155/2020 amending and supplementing Law no. 123/2012 on electricity and natural gas (“Romanian Energy Law”) and other regulatory acts entered into force. Part of the changes brought to the Romanian Energy Law are aimed at implementing the regulatory framework necessary for the development of an integrated EU energy market through common energy market rules and a cross-border infrastructure, pursuant to the Clean energy for all Europeans Package, including inter alia, Regulation (EU) 2019/943 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 5 June 2019 on the internal market for electricity (“Internal Market Regulation”) and Directive (EU) 2019/944 on common rules for the internal market for electricity (“Internal Market Directive”). Such framework is aimed at ensuring the necessary structure for consumers to become more active and to effectively contribute to keeping the electricity system stable, through a balance of the supply and demand.
The slow and lengthy process of completing the cadastral works and real estate publicity seems to affect not only the private property, but also the public one. In this context where the lands are not delimited and registered with the national Land Book Registry (“Land Book”), both the private investments and the projects of public interest and utility are hampered. Therefore, there was necessary to establish a complete and optimal legal framework, capable to ensure the complete evidence of assets falling under the public property of waters. The regime of waters and land areas of riverbeds are under the provisions of Water Law no. 107/1996 (“Water Law”). This background given, Law no. 122/2020 amending and supplementing the Water Law (“Law 122/2020”) was enacted by the Romanian Parliament and published in the Official Gazette of Romania on July 13, 2020.
Despite the constant update of the public procurement legal framework, the Romanian authorities have signalled several issues related to the public procurement contracts granted to certain companies, in circumstances which are not able to comply, in all cases, with the general principles of transparency and equal treatment.
“Romania's Liberal government has recently announced a new program of investment," says Horea Popescu, CMS Partner and Head of Corporate M&A in CEE. “The goal behind the program is an economic relaunch. The government has only published a white paper so far, which is currently being debated and commented on.”
In a recent warning, the European Union Commission sent infringement letters to Romania and seven other countries alerting them that they had failed to notify the EC of any implementation measures related to the transposition of the 5th Anti-Money Laundering Directive (EU Directive 2018/843, or AML 5) into national law, and instructing them to proceed with the transposition, which was supposed to have happened by January 10th, 2020, immediately.