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In The Corner Office feature of CEE Legal Matters we ask Managing Partners at leading law firms across Central and Eastern Europe about their unique roles and responsibilities. In light of current events, the question for this online occurrence of the feature is: "What have been the top three most often asked COVID-19 related questions that you have gotten from clients in the last month?

Recently, a decision following a dispute resolution between an electronic communication provider and an electricity distribution provider was issued in Romania. This is a premiere and its origins sit with the provisions of the Directive 2014/61/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council on measures to reduce the cost of deploying high-speed electronic communications networks (“Directive 2014/61/EU”).

Between around 2001-2011, certain private electricity suppliers (the “smart guys”, as they were called by the press) entered into long-term (10-15 years) bilateral power purchase agreements (“PPAs”) with state-owned producers (amongst which, notably Hidroelectrica) under quite unfavorable conditions for the latter.  Basically, the “smart guys” used to buy electricity from the state-owned producers at very low prices while making large profits by re-selling this cheap electricity at much higher market prices. Such PPAs were directly negotiated between the parties outside an organized market (the whole process and the contract itself being a private and confidential matter) and many of them were loss making for the selling state-owned producers (for instance, Hidroelectrica filed for insolvency and unilaterally terminated all such contracts eventually).

Considering that the Draft Emergency Ordinance on certain measures related to corporate law (the ”Draft Emergency Ordinance”) has been launched for public debate and proposes various measures aiming to help Romanian companies in the Covid-19 outbreak context (for example, the possibility for holding virtual shareholder meetings even if such possibility is not reflected in the company’s articles of incorporation), MPR½Partners has proposed further amendments in this regard, for the purpose of assisting companies with other formalities that are difficult to achieve in the current context.

Six CEE-based lawyers — Agnieszka Skorupinska, Jakub Podkowa, and Jakub Wieczorek in Warsaw, Natalia Kushniruk in Kyiv, Roxana Fratila in Bucharest, and Artashes Oganov in Moscow — are among the 41 worldwide that CMS has promoted to the firm's partnership as part of its 2020 round.

Romanian Knowledge Partner

Țuca Zbârcea & Asociații is a full-service independent law firm, employing cross-disciplinary teams of lawyers, insolvency practitioners, tax consultants, IP counsellors, economists and staff members. It also operates a secondary law office in Cluj-Napoca (Romania), and has a ‘best-friend’ agreement with a leading law firm in the Republic of Moldova. In addition, thanks to the firm’s dedicated Foreign Desks, the team provides the full range of services to international investors seeking to gain a foothold or expand their existing operations in Romania. Since 2019, the firm and its tax arm are collaborating with Andersen Global in Romania.

Țuca Zbârcea & Asociaţii is providing legal services in every aspect of business, covering all major areas of practice: corporate and M&A; litigation and international arbitration; corporate tax; public procurement; TMT; employment; insurance; banking and finance; capital markets; competition; healthcare and pharmaceutical; energy and natural resources; environmental; intellectual property; real estate; regulatory legal services.

Țuca Zbârcea & Asociaţii is a First-Tier law firm in all international legal directories and a multiple award-winning law firm both locally and internationally. It received the CEE Deal of the Year Award (DOTY Awards 2021) and the Law Firm of the Year Award: Romania (IFLR Europe Awards 2021). 

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