The new Hungarian Code of Civil Procedure (the “Code”) came with a number of ambitious promises, many of which have already been addressed in CEE Legal Matters. However, a prominent promise, namely increasing the transparency and predictability of litigation, has not yet been discussed in these pages.
On September 11, 2018, CEE Legal Matters reported that Akos Eros, the Managing Partner of Squire Patton Boggs in Hungary, had taken a team from that international firm to join Wolf Theiss, led in Budapest by his old friend Zoltan Faludi. The reunion of these two actual comrades-in-arms is a source of real excitement at Wolf Theiss Hungary, which is embracing the changing legal market of the moment with confidence and style.
Chinese investors and developers are expanding their footprints in Europe, focusing often on green technology and opportunities in the solar, hi-tech, and automation industries, as well as highly-publicized infrastructure development tenders. Over the years, the amount of Chinese investment has increased, as has the number of Chinese professionals settling in CEE to facilitate Europe-China relations and bridge differences in culture, expectations, and styles. In September, 2018, CEE Legal Matters sat down at the Dentons office in Budapest with three Chinese lawyers to learn about their experiences working on the ground in CEE.
After a valuable and information-rich day of panel discussions on important business development and law firm management topics, participants reconvened that evening (and were joined by several dozen newcomers) at the first ever CEE Legal Matters Annual Banquet and Deal of the Year Awards Ceremony – a celebration of CEE’s legal markets and the lawyers who work within them. Awards were presented for 17 qualifying markets in CEE – plus a surprise award for overall CEE Deal of the Year – with many of the lawyers playing key roles in nominated deals joining the celebration.
While no more applications for Micro Projects (those below 0.5MW) can be submitted under Hungary’s very generous mandatory off-take system since the end of April 2018, the Government seems to have acknowledged that the projects already licensed under the subsidy regime may not be physically implemented within the strict deadlines set forth in the original legislation. Therefore, it is now possible for entities that applied for licenses after January 1, 2016 to ask for a three- years extension to complete their projects without any sanction. This is good news for license-owners and potential investors, as they have a reasonable amount of time to manage the relatively burdensome permitting proceedings and can also secure project finance. This is also good news for the Hungarian state budget because the first heavy payments to the projects under the mandatory off-take system will be delayed by a few more years.
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.”
Unlike those of its neighbours to the East, Austria’s economy was allowed to operate free of communist interference, allowing the country to hit well above its weight, comparatively-speaking. Thus, although Austria is the 11th biggest country in CEE in population, with 8.7 million people, it has the third largest economy, behind only Russia and Poland. And these days, with the global financial crisis now firmly in the rearview mirror, the country is once again able to capitalize on its happy geographical positioning and historical relationship with the former members of the Austro-Hungarian empire.
The western Balkan countries of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, Serbia, and the Republic of Macedonia share the desire to join the European Union. Two of these countries — Albania and Macedonia — are particularly close to accession. we spoke to several lawyers to learn more about how accession could affect the business landscape and the work of lawyers in the two countries.
Kosovo declared its independence on February 17, 2008, nine years after the 1999 conclusion of its conflict with Serbia, during which time it operated under the protection of the United Nation Mission in Kosovo. The post-war climate in the country was full of hopes for new beginnings, and in 2008 the newly sovereign state began the process of establishing effective and fair legislation, developing an independent economy, and building a protective environment for its citizens.
Although Romania claims the highest GDP growth rate in Europe and a low unemployment rate, all is not rosy in the seventh most populous member state of the European Union, and prominent lawyers in the country admit to profound dissatisfaction with the country’s leadership and concern about its long-term prospects.