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After undergoing healthy levels of Corporate/M&A activity in recent times, as we move towards 2019 we expect the Slovak market to remain stable. A notable exception, however, is in the logistics asset class, where we project inbound investment to soar.

The demand for residential real estate is currently experiencing an unprecedented boom in Slovakia. According to official market surveys, the average price of flats has already exceeded the levels recorded before the outbreak of the world financial crisis, and further price increases are expected due to lagging supply and readily available sources of cheap funding from domestic banks. Not surprisingly, these conditions have resulted in a significant increase in the indebtedness of private households, which are currently the highest in the CEE region.

Against the backdrop of concerns that changes in technology may cost law firms jobs come reports that law firms in Slovakia are having trouble finding the skilled law school graduates to fill their associate ranks. Whether because of a decrease in the perceived attractiveness of a career in a law firm, a prolonged mandatory traineeship period, or some other reason, many see a serious problem developing.

When I was first asked to write an Editorial for CEE Legal Matters, I was told that it should be something personal or funny. As “funny,” by definition, does not get along with the legal profession very well, I will have to stick to reflecting on my 20-year career. I will share a few thoughts on the dilemma of whether to pursue a legal career in London or in Bratislava and on the changing world around us that impacts (and arguably, enhances) the lives of legal practitioners in one of the CEE countries.

The Deal: On October 4, 2017, CEE Legal Matters reported that Dentons’ Bratislava office had advised CNIC Corporation Ltd., an investment company owned by the Chinese government, on its acquisition of Prologis Park Galanta-Gan in Slovakia – which Dentons described as “the largest logistics asset, both by area and investment volume, ever sold in the CEE region” – from Prologis, and that Kinstellar had advised Prologis on the deal.

Kinstellar has advised the Slovak branch of French energy giant Veolia Energie International on its acquisition of PPC Investments, which owns and operates a combined cycle natural gas-fired power plant near Bratislava, from Czech investment fund Avant Energy. Avant Energy was advised by RR Legal on the transaction, which was finalized in July 2018 following the approval of the Slovak Antimonopoly Office.

For a number of years, Slovakian courts struggled with domain name disputes. Because there was neither statutory legislation concerning the rights to domain names nor consistent case-law allowing for the formulation of principles for resolving disputes that arose involving them, different courts took different approaches regarding how to decide domain name cases. This made legal certainty and predictability extremely difficult for stakeholders in the country.

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.”

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).