Due to its strategic position in the heart of Southeast Europe and it being part of three important European corridors, Serbia can boast excellent connections to both Western Europe and the Middle East, and has a huge potential for public and private investments alike.
Offsetting of claims (compensation) is one of the ways of termination of obligations, regulated by the Law of Contract and Torts. Certain procedural and legal rules, referring to the offsetting objection and the compensatory counter-claim, are also contained in the Law on Civil Procedure. The institution of offsetting claims is especially important when one of the parties in the obligatory relationship is in bankruptcy, in which case the special bankruptcy rules are applied. The importance of this topic is further enhanced by the changed business conditions in the world after the COVID-19 pandemic, with economic entities being increasingly forced to settle their obligations with compensation for the time being, until new sources of growth yield positive effects on liquidity.
There are specific foreign exchange (FX) restrictions set out in Serbian legislation. The FX rules envisage mandatory requirements with respect to cross-border loans, guarantees, assignment and set-off of cross-border claims and debt, the opening of bank accounts abroad, etc. As FX restrictions affect various aspects of transactions between Serbian residents and foreign parties, they are frequently a tumbling stone in cross-border transactions.
When I was presented with the opportunity to share my views on lawyering in Serbia and the current legal market, one of my first thoughts was where we were 20 years ago, when Serbia had just opened its doors to foreign capital, privatization started, and international banks and investors began their search for the same quality of advice and advisers they had back home. The bar was dramatically increased, traditional law firms thought they were untouchable, and only a handful of new-generation lawyers, although with very modest international experience, was able to adapt and meet this challenge.
Recently, the Serbian Government (“Government“) adopted a Regulation on the Quota in the Market Premium System (“Quota Regulation“), and soon after, the Regulation on Market Premium and Fid-In Tarif (“Tarif Regulation“) and the Regulation on the Model Agreement for the Market Premium for Renewable Energy Sources (“Model Agreement Regulation“). This package of by-laws has been adopted to create conditions for the organization of the first market premium auction in accordance with the Law on the Use of Renewable Energy Sources (“Law“).
On January 1, 2022, certain provisions of Articles of the Rulebook on Electromagnetic Compatibility (Official Gazette of RS no. 25/2016 and 21/2020) ceased to apply, as well as of the Rulebook on Electrical Equipment Intended for Use within Certain Voltage Limits (Official Gazette of RS no. 25/2016 and 21/2020), which refer to the conformity certificate, i.e., its mandatory provision.
On 19 November 2021 the Parliament of the Republic of Serbia enacted amendments to the Company Law. The amendments are applicable as of 27 November 2021, except for certain clauses for which a deferred implementation is provided. This is the seventh time the Company Law undergoes changes since it was enacted ten years ago.