21
Fri, Jun
53 New Articles

At the end of 2018, the Government of the Republic of Serbia extended the validity of the Decree on Incentive Measures for the Production of Electric Energy from Renewable Energy Sources and High-efficiency Cogeneration of Electric Energy and Thermal Energy (the “FIT Decree”) until the end of 2019. The FIT Decree was initially valid until the end of 2018.

Although I am a bit old to claim that my generation has two birthdays – a natural one and an Internet one – I believe, for that same reason, that we have the experience to assess progress in respect of ongoing digitalization trends.

In The Corner Office we ask Senior and Managing Partners across Central and Eastern Europe about their unique roles and responsibilities. The question this time around: “What is the one skill, ability, or characteristic that fresh law school graduates in your country most commonly lack?”

In the last five years significant changes have occurred in the Serbian business and political environment. This has been a time of dramatic change – with the general goal of transforming the position and the image of Serbia both regionally and globally, strongly affirming a pro-EU stance and making Serbia much more attractive for foreign investment. Obviously, both of these goals are interconnected because improving the image of a country brings more investments, and foreign investors generating profits in Serbia improves Serbia’s global image.

The Serbian legal market has changed rapidly over the past five years. After less than 30 years of existence in this form, our legal market is still relatively young and its pioneers emerged in the early 1990s. Nevertheless, it is also a dynamic market and brings change every year, especially due to the European Union accession negotiations and additional harmonization of the country’s legislation with EU legislation. On the other hand, frequent changes in law have become a general rule, providing more work for law firms, but also bringing a high level of uncertainty for their clients.

A transformation of the legal profession is happening globally, and its effects are also felt, slowly but surely, in the law firms of Southeast Europe. Due to the changing expectations concerning the quality, speed, and commerciality of services, we are seeing a move towards even more client-oriented solutions. Traditional sectors are being replaced with emerging industries, and where we previously had slow processes, with low profit margins, we see value being generated at lightning speeds. Also, a new generation that entered the workforce recently is slowly imposing their own values and approaches, necessitating changes in structure and the values of traditional legal practices.

The beginning of 2019 will mark the start of a major transformation of the Serbian tax system, bringing new and exciting opportunities for companies who do business or wish to invest in Serbia, but also bringing potential challenges concerning the practical application of new tax rules.

The NPL market in Serbia traditionally knows of only two concerns, embodied in the numbers 48 and 204. Although you would assume that numerology had something to do with this assertion, the backstory is actually a lot more appealing.

It is not uncommon for post-communist societies to wrestle with the idea of competition enforcement. Executives of a more old-school bent are often confounded by having something which once was common market practice, sometimes even mandated by the state, now scrutinized and considered a serious infringement of law. This is why competition advocacy is a crucial tool for relatively inexperienced competition authorities – it would hardly be fair to beat upon market players legitimately unaware of changes to the modus operandi.

The Serbian Ministry of Construction, Transportation and Infrastructure has initiated the process of amending the country’s Planning and Construction Act, with the aim of boosting the construction industry and making the legal environment in the sector more predictable, reliable, and investor-friendly. The Serbian construction law has been revolutionized the last few years, with the introduction of e-permits and the unclogging of many sclerotic procedural labyrinths, so the readiness of the Serbian government to continue with the reforms and modernization is generating new excitement in the construction sector.

Until a few years ago, the narrative within legal practices, as in most service industries, focused mainly on austerity, small growth numbers, and the crises. Most legal practitioners feared an uncertain future and all the risks it held, including evolving client expectations, financial pressure, and the long-term impact of the global economic crisis.

As Serbia is gearing up for EU accession, harmonizing with EU legislation and business practices becomes not only mandatory, but also a market necessity. Although there are discrepancies between business practices in Serbia and in the EU, one thing seems to be unanimous: local businesses, just like their international counterparts, think ahead when it comes to securing their assets. This applies to every type of business, but it is prevailingly visible in local medium-sized to large businesses which predominantly handle and/or deal with IP portfolios. Nowadays, in the ever-evolving digital world, where almost information is at the reach of one’s hand – even to those located in remote corners of the world – attention and focus are being switched to ensuring the adequate protection of trade secrets. This process is happening in Serbia as well.

The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation is, according to the EU-hosted GDPR website, “the most important change in data privacy regulation in the past 20 years.” The Act, which was approved by the EU Parliament on April 14, 2016 and will become fully effective on May 25, 2018, was designed “to harmonize data privacy laws across Europe, to protect and empower all EU citizens’ data privacy, and to reshape the way organizations across the region approach data privacy.”

Implementation of large-scale real estate development projects almost always requires the simultaneous development of new or upgrades to existing public infrastructure necessary for the unimpeded use of the main project. Back in the old days, real estate development projects suffered, from time to time, from slow public infrastructure development since the relevant public authorities either had no interest in or had no available funds to develop the missing infrastructure.

The winners of the 2017 CEE Deal of the Year Awards were announced at the first ever CEE Legal Matters Deal of the Year Awards Banquet last night in Prague. The biggest smiles in the joyous and music-filled celebration of CEE lawyering, perhaps, were on the faces of Partners from Avellum and Sayenko Kharenko, which, along with White & Case and Latham & Watkins, won the award both for Ukrainian Deal of the Year and CEE Deal of the Year for their work on the 2017 Ukraine Eurobond Issue (a story initially reported by CEE Legal Matters on October 2, 2017).

Slovenia: Fine-Tuning of the Tax System

In the beginning of 2018, Slovenia introduced several minor and mainly administrative changes to its tax legislation, mostly addressing and resolving inconsistencies in the legislation that had been detected in practice. 

Patricia Gannon is a founder and Senior Partner at Karanovic & Nikolic, where she focuses primarily on the management, business development, strategy, and expansion of the firm. Gannon qualified as a Solicitor in Ireland and after a short period working at the European Commission in Brussels she moved to Serbia and founded the firm. She is a committed advocate of corporate philanthropy, and was amongst the founding members of the Serbian Charity Forum, an umbrella forum of leading foundations in the country.

Serbia Knowledge Partner

SOG in cooperation with Kinstellar is a full-service business law firm in Serbia that provides foreign and domestic clients with premium-quality legal advice and assistance across a wide range of key areas of corporate law. The firm was founded in 2015 by a group of seasoned, internationally-trained lawyers. SOG has developed a distinctively dynamic culture, bringing together top talent, fostering entrepreneurship, and maintaining exceptional relationships with its clients.

SOG has achieved consistent growth in the volume of its business, accompanied by an exponential increase in the number of hired associate lawyers and the firm’s network of business contacts. SOG has a robust client base of multinationals, investment and private equity firms, and financial institutions. Clients praise SOG for being commercially minded, very responsive and knowledgeable.

Establishing permanent cooperation with Kinstellar is part of realising SOG's long-term development strategy to be the leading provider of legal services in the Western Balkans market.

Firm's website: https://www.kinstellar.com/

 

Our Latest Issue