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It is 2017 and you are a foreigner (non-resident of Serbia) aiming to purchase a share of a Serbian company. After you negotiate principal terms, conduct the due diligence, set final terms, and negotiate transaction documents, at the closing you transfer the purchase price in euros to the Buyer’s euro bank account in Serbia, and all is well. Now it is 2021, you are again in Serbia undertaking the same steps, but this time, you are in breach of the Foreign Exchange Act (“FX Act”). Why is that?

For our Checking In feature, we reach out to partners and heads of practice across CEE to learn how specific practice areas are faring in their jurisdictions. This time around we asked Data Protection experts: Overall, how compliant would you say economic agents are with relevant local regulations on data protection, and what are the main gaps that have yet to be addressed?

Growing industrial cannabis as a business activity in the Republic of Serbia is not a new phenomenon. The act that specifically regulates this area is the Law on Psychoactive Controlled Substances adopted in 2010 with its amendments in 2018 (“Law”). Besides the aforementioned Law, the Rulebook on Growing Industrial Cannabis adopted in 2013 (“Rulebook”) regulates it in more depth, meaning the business of growing industrial cannabis has been in the books for around a decade.

Ever since the United Kingdom (“UK”) announced its departure from the European Union (“EU”), there were a lot of speculations about which rights and obligations will remain applicable to its citizens upon (Br)exit. Naturally, as negotiations were ongoing since 2016 referendum, question of whether the General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”) will remain applicable was still left open, until recently.

In this time of economic distress, many countries have suffered. Yet, reports Milos Gledovic, Partner at Samardzic, Oreski & Grbovic, Serbia has proven resilient. “The pandemic has not affected the number of transactions in our market, except in the industries directly affected by anti-COVID measures,” Gledovic says, describing the overall economic situation in Serbia as stable.

In December 2020, the French Data Protection Authority (Commission nationale de l’informatique et des libertés or the “CNIL”) imposed significant fines of EUR 60 million for Google LLC and EUR 40 million for Google Ireland Limited, as well as of EUR 35 million for Amazon Europe Core.

Last month, one of the world’s largest messaging apps, WhatsApp, began notifying its users of the new Privacy Policy that would take effect as of 8 February 2021. The users were notified that they would no longer be able to use the app if they do not accept the new Privacy Policy, as of the effective date.

When Google announced its $2.1 billion merger deal with the smartwatch and fitness-tracker company Fitbit last year (“Deal”), consumer advocacy and anti-trust regulators have expressed concerns over the proposed acquisition. As a consequence, in August last year the European Commission (“EC”) opened an in-depth investigation to assess whether the said merger is in line with the EU Merger Regulation.

On 26 November 2020 the Minister of the Interior and the Minister of Labor, Employment, Veterans and Social Affairs adopted the Rulebook on the unified request for approval, i.e. extension of temporary residence and issuance of a work permit to a foreigner (“Rulebook”), all in accordance with amendments to the Act on Foreigners from 2019 (“Act”).

By adopting the new Company Act on 11 July 2020 (the “Act”), Montenegro made a big leap in the area of Corporate Law, although “big leap” maybe isn’t a phrase strong enough to describe the number of changes the Montenegrin Corporate Law went through, having in mind that the new Company Act is three times more extensive compared to the previous one.

The COVID-19 pandemic hit the Western Balkans right during a period of accelerating economic activity and a promising economic outlook for 2020. The rapid spread of the virus forced the governments of the Western Balkans countries to introduce protective measures, lockdowns, and temporary business shutdowns. These restrictions had a devastating direct economic impact on a wide range of sectors – particularly the hospitality and transport industries – and the measures had many indirect side effects that significantly decreased economic activity.

As of 12 October 2020, the Register of Healthcare Institutions is kept at the Business Registers Agency of the Republic of Serbia (“SBRA”), in accordance with the new Health Care Act, which entered into force on 11 April 2019. This means that health care institutions have the obligation to register in the Register of Health Care Institutions, which is kept at the SBRA as of today. In addition to this register, SBRA will keep a single record of entities in health care, which will contain consolidated data on health care institutions and private practice on the territory of the Republic of Serbia.

SOG / Samardzic, Oreski & Grbovic at a Glance

SOG / Samardžić, Oreški & Grbović is a full service business law firm providing the highest quality legal advice across a wide range of key areas of corporate law in Serbia and the Western Balkans. We are particularly noted for legal expertise, high professional and ethical standards, attention to detail, and responsiveness. SOG is firmly committed to providing advice at the highest level and achieving lasting results for our clients.

In order to provide our regional and international clients having business interests in more than one jurisdiction, we have also established a strong regional presence through our partner offices in Bosnia & Herzegovina, Macedonia, and Montenegro. This way, our clients gain a full spectrum of support and the most up to date and nuanced advice on the business and regulatory environment across the entire region.

Firm's website: www.sog.rs