EU Law

25 Jan 2023

Tirana Declaration – Western Balkans Working Together for a Greener Future?

EU and Western Balkans leaders gathered in Albania last December for the EU and Western Balkans Summit to discuss cooperation and EU perspectives of the region. The Tirana Declaration (“Declaration”) was signed between the leaders of the Western Balkans Six and the EU Member States, with representatives of the EU Council and the EU Commission. The document comprises specific initiatives to strengthen regional cooperation in parallel with the EU accession processes. One of the Declaration’s critical topics was the Western Balkans’ commitment to fully implement the Green Agenda and develop a carbon pricing policy in the context of the EU […]

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17 Jan 2023

The Dawn of Green Protectionism?

In her keynote speech at the 2023 World Economic Forum in Davos, Ursula von der Leyen, EU Commission President, outlined yesterday the main pillars of the EU’s Green Deal Industrial Plan to boost Europe’s leadership in green technology on its road to carbon neutrality.  “We know we have a small window to invest in clean tech and innovation to gain leadership before the fossil fuel economy becomes obsolete,” said von der Leyen. As the plan’s regulatory pillar, she announced a new Net-zero Industry Act to support the “greatest industrial transformation of our times” and keep up with strongly incentivized programs […]

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13 Jan 2023

EU’s Foreign Subsidies Regulation Comes into Force

As anticipated for some time in the previous months, while having been agreed upon between the EU institutions, the Foreign Subsidies Regulation (Regulation) finally saw the light of day on January 12, 2023. Its application will commence on July 12, 2023. The Regulation offers new tools for the European Commission (Commission) to investigate financial contributions from non-EU countries to companies operating in the EU to prevent distortions in the internal market. This specific State aid regime provides for an extended application of EU rules and the Commission’s competencies beyond the EU borders. One of the notable features is that the […]

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29 Dec 2022

CBAM Final Deal – The World’s First Carbon Border Tariff

The European Union is fast-tracking the road to a greener future as EU institutions reach provisional agreements on the Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (“CBAM”) and the EU Emissions Trading System (“ETS”).  After round-the-clock negotiations between EU officials, the “Fit for 55” legislative package with the ultimate goal of reaching carbon neutrality by 2050 is now being finalized.  What are the implications for non-EU countries?   EU’s Climate Action Recognizing the threats of climate change, the European Union adopted a range of climate laws, which includes the ETS and the CBAM, as part of the revolutionary “Fit for 55” legislative package.  In contrast to the […]

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23 Dec 2022

European Court of Justice: Public Registries are too Public

The Judgment of the European Court of Justice (“ECJ“) from November this year raised the issue of compatibility of proclaimed fundamental human rights with public registers of ultimate beneficial owners available to all interested parties (“Judgment“). According to the Fourth Anti-Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Directive (the “Fourth AML Directive“), all European Union member states were obliged to make public the registers of beneficial owners of companies operating in their countries so that they can be accessed by any person who has a “legitimate interest.” Accordingly, in 2019, Luxembourg passed a law confirming this directive.  It established a register of ultimate […]

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22 Dec 2022

The First Effects of the DMA

The European Commission (Commission) continues to work on implementing the Digital Markets Act (DMA).  On December 9, 2022, the Commission published a draft regulation on implementing the DMA and annexes.  Public consultations are currently underway until January 6, 2023.  The Commission would like to consider the input of different publics and take on board their suggestions, comments, and proposals when finalizing this draft regulation.  Feedback received will be published on the Commission’s website and must adhere to the rules for input and suggestions.  To participate in the public consultation process, interested parties must register. The regulation aims to ensure fair, efficient, and complete […]

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19 Dec 2022

Shibolet and Gecić Law Held Webinar on New EU ESG Regulation

Our Founding Partner, Bogdan Gecić, took part in a webinar organized by the preeminent Israeli law firm Shibolet titled „The Effect of New EU Regulation on Israeli and Global Trade.“ The audience, primarily Israeli businesses in diverse industries, had the opportunity to hear from leading experts in both ESG and EU law and international trade about how the EU’s new ESG regulation may affect trade relations with the EU and what they can do to prepare. Galit Ofer, Partner at Shibolet, introduced the panel and provided an overview of the ESG agenda and the significance of EU-Israel trade relations. She […]

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13 Dec 2022

Bosnia and Herzegovina Knocking on the EU’s Door

A significant and long-awaited day for Bosnia and Herzegovina! As announced by the Council of the EU, the EU General Affairs Council recommended granting the candidate status to Bosnia and Herzegovina.  The European Council will make the formal decision on Thursday, December 15, at the summit of the leaders EU’s 27 in Brussels. It’s been six years since the country submitted its formal application for full membership in the EU back in 2016.  The process is now nearing its conclusion, and yet another Western Balkans country is about to reach its primary goal – attaining candidate status as an essential step […]

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08 Dec 2022

EU and Western Balkans Commit to Reducing Roaming Fees

European Union (EU) and Western Balkans telecommunication operators signed a Roaming Declaration at the EU-Western Balkans Summit held on Tuesday in Tirana. According to the Declaration, Western Balkans – EU roaming charges will be reduced voluntarily from 1 October 2023, with subsequent reductions gradually leading to their complete elimination. The commitment was also reinforced as part of the Tirana Declaration, which was agreed upon at the Summit. The initiative is another crucial step in bringing the Western Balkans closer to the EU. It aims to enhance connectivity, mobility, and affordability of telecommunication services for individuals and businesses, contributing to more opportunities for […]

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25 Nov 2022

Bogdan Gecić and Ognjen Colić speak with B92

We were recently entered the finals in four categories for The Lawyer European Awards 2022 and became one of the most nominated law firms in the whole of Europe! As last year’s winner, Gecić Law was nominated for Law firm of the Year: South East Europe, a 150 million strong market, and entered the finals with three of its practice area teams for impressive achievements in competition, corporate and litigation, standing shoulder to shoulder with the crème de la crème of the entire continent. Gecić Law received the most nominations among this year’s contenders across all of Europe – an […]

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23 Nov 2022

Frontex Negotiations Reopened

New developments are coming up in Frontex agreements!  On November 18, 2022, the European Council gave the green light for the opening of negotiations to broaden the already signed cooperation agreements between Frontex and four Western Balkans countries (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Serbia). This cooperation reflects the European integrated border management concept with non-EU countries and enables Frontex to carry out joint operations and deploy staff in these countries.  The arrangement became operational in 2019 with the signing of the first agreement with Albania.  Apart from the above countries, it includes Moldova and North Macedonia. On the other […]

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22 Nov 2022

Bogdan Gecić and Miodrag Jevtić speak with Telegraf

We were recently entered the finals in four categories for The Lawyer European Awards 2022 and became one of the most nominated law firms in the whole of Europe! As last year’s winner, Gecić Law was nominated for Law firm of the Year: South East Europe, a 150 million strong market, and entered the finals with three of its practice area teams for impressive achievements in competition, corporate and litigation, standing shoulder to shoulder with the crème de la crème of the entire continent. Gecić Law received the most nominations among this year’s contenders across all of Europe – an […]

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21 Nov 2022

Bogdan Gecić Talks Competition Law with Florence University Students

Our Founding Partner Bogdan Gecić shared his significant knowledge and experience with law students at the esteemed University of Florence (ita. Università Degli Studi di Firenze) as a guest lecturer to a class led by Prof. Ettore M. Lombardi. Students had the opportunity to participate actively in an online two-part mini-course titled “Elements of Competition Law: An International Perspective.” Bogdan provided practical insights into the most exciting aspects of competition law in the context of EU law and how they relate to international trade. Bogdan commented: ”I always enjoy speaking to students, and it was a great pleasure to hold […]

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14 Nov 2022

European Parliament Adopts CSRD

On November 10, 2022, the European Parliament finally adopted the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (“CSRD“). The CSRD intends to expand the application of corporate sustainability standards across the market by including an even larger specter of business entities compared to the application scope of the Non-financial Reporting Directive (“NFRD“). NFRD applied only to large companies with more than 500 employees. In contrast, the CSRD comes with larger ambitions and will apply not only to large companies but also to listed SMEs and third-country companies with significant operations on the EU market and a daughter company or a branch office in the […]

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09 Nov 2022

Legal Treatment of Foreign Citizens and Liberalization of The Labor Market

According to the International Monetary Fund, in the next 30 years, Serbia could lose as much as a fifth of its domestic workforce.  On the other hand, the Serbian economy shows an opposite trend, and its growth creates a need for additional labor.  When the domestic labor market cannot meet the demands of employers, this opens the doors for foreign workers.  Of course, the national labor market is designed so that domestic citizens have a better position while foreigners face certain (legal) obstacles.  In that sense, in this analysis, we raise the question of the legislative treatment of foreigners in […]

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04 Nov 2022

Attention, Tech Companies: The Digital Markets Act is Now in Effect!

The EU Digital Markets Act (DMA) entered into force on November 1, 2022, and it will start to apply in early 2023, while its “partner in crime,” the Digital Services Act, still awaits its moment in the limelight, announced to ensue in a year. Together they form a single set of new rules which aim to apply across the whole of the EU to create a safer and more open digital space.  One may say it’s all about digital, but essentially, it’s all about undistorted competition in digital! A New Digital Era Begins with the DMA! The DMA rocked the tech […]

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18 Oct 2022

EU and ASEAN Sign World’s First Air Transport Agreement

The European Union (EU) and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) signed yesterday in Bali the world’s first bloc-to-bloc Comprehensive Air Transport Agreement (CATA).  Most EU member states so far have had bilateral agreements with some of the ASEAN countries, with different scopes and rules. However, very few had such arrangements with all the countries of ASEAN. The new agreement now includes all member states of each region and replaces all existing contracts with a unified framework, connecting more than one billion people. The agreement aims to revitalize air travel and transport between Southeast Asia and Europe, which has […]

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14 Oct 2022

The DMA is Here – And Now What?

Europe is now fit for the digital age as the long-awaited Digital Markets Act (DMA) was published in the Official Journal on October 12. Adopted by the European Parliament in September, the DMA will enter into force on November 1 and start to apply in May next year.  The act provides a framework to prevent the most prominent digital companies, the so-called “gatekeepers,” from abusing their market power, ensuring greater competition in digital markets, and sparking more innovation in the industry. The DMA will primarily target the world’s most powerful corporations in the IT industry, commonly referred to as the “Big Five” […]

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05 Oct 2022

Universal Chargers are Here to Stay!

Newsflash! The time has come for universal chargers to hit it on!   Following the provisional political agreement reached in June 2022 between the EU institutions, on October 4, 2022, the European Parliament passed a new law on universal chargers to ease reducing e-waste and enable more sustainable choices for consumers.   What does this actually refer to? Namely, all small and medium-sized mobile electronic devices will need to be equipped with a USB Type C port.  Thus, consumers will no longer have to use different chargers to charge their devices from different manufacturers.  The agreement will be applied to […]

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12 Aug 2022

EU Parliament Adopts Digital Services Package

Despite rapid developments in technology and business, EU laws on e-commerce have not been updated for more than 20 years.  To keep up with the digital revolution, the EU Parliament („EP“) adopted the Digital Markets Act (“DMA”) and the Digital Services Act (“DSA”).  The  DMA was adopted in July 2022 and it will start to apply at the beginning of 2023.  As for the DSA, it is expected to be implemented in early 2024. Why was the DMA adopted? This act provides a framework that is tailored to the major influence of the largest digital companies, known as “gatekeepers” – […]

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08 Aug 2022

Google Play Store Under the Radar of the EU’s Competition Watchdog

The European Commission’s (Commission) antitrust enforcers are investigating Google Play Store.  The antitrust enforcers are now looking into the restrictions Google has placed on the Play Store app market. According to the sources, the Commission has sent a confidential questionnaire to several companies that use the Play Store.   Most of the questions are about the billing terms and fees they must pay to this tech giant to be listed in its application catalog. Any purchase made inside an application (in-app) that has been downloaded from the Play Store is subject to a 15% to 30% fee that Google charges.  Publishers […]

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05 Jul 2022

Football on Thin Ice – The potential implications of the ISU case judgement on the ESL

Last year, the top 12 European football clubs formally agreed to organize a separate competition.  Gecić Law has already given legal insights on establishing the European Super League (“ESL”) – the football league that may never start.  The ESL aims to compete with – if not completely replace – the current UEFA Champions League, the elite European football championship organized by the UEFA.  The ESL has experienced tremendous pressure from the fans, officials, coaches, players, other stakeholders and especially UEFA, which resulted in (temporary) stopping the initiative.  Much of the opposition to the ESL stemmed from fears of elitism and […]

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23 Jun 2022

CBAM Adopted by EU Parliament

Building on our CBAM series, we can now report that the CBAM was adopted by the EU Parliament (“Parliament”) on June 22, 2022.  The next step is the EU Council approval (“Council”).  Even though there are still some differences regarding the approach between the Parliament and the Council, it is assumed that their shared vision of the overall goals will be decisive in finding a compromise on regulation introducing CBAM. Back in 2005, the EU established the EU Emissions Trading System (“ETS”), which has since become a cornerstone of the EU’s climate change policy and its most important tool for reducing […]

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21 Jun 2022

Corporate Reporting – the Decision Day

Today in Brussels, the EU parliament, EU governments and the European Commission will try to agree on uniform rules for corporate reporting on environmental, governance and social standards (ESG).  This will be the last time that the lawmakers meet to confirm the new reporting rules. Pascal Durand, the lead negotiator for the European parliament, stated ahead of the meeting: “If we strike a deal tonight, the EU will set the tone of the global conversation on sustainable standards for the company of the 21st century.”  This highlights the importance of the new uniform reporting rules for the companies, and as […]

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17 Jun 2022

The Legal 500 Series: Bogdan Gecić enters Hall of Fame

In this edition of our series dedicated to our esteemed colleagues who were recognized in this year’s The Legal 500 EMEA rankings, we bring you our founder and managing partner Bogdan Gecić.  After being recognized by The Legal 500 as a Leading Individual in Competition for seven consecutive years, in this year’s rankings, Bogdan was especially honored by being amongst the distinguished few to be inducted into the elite global directory’s newly established EMEA Hall of Fame category, which highlights the law firm partners who are at the pinnacle of the profession having received constant praise by their clients for continued […]

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16 Jun 2022

Gecić Law team talks ESG at TerraLex Global Meeting

The first post-covid Global Meeting of the elite global legal alliance TerraLex was last week’s highlight as lawyers from 180 member law firms from across the globe gathered in Oslo.  Delegates had the opportunity to learn, collaborate and network with their colleagues in a unique series of activities and a relaxed collegial atmosphere.  The Gecić Law team took to the center stage, as for the first time the alliance built its annual meeting around a single theme, choosing one of the hottest topics in the legal world today – ESG: Environmental, Social, and Governance.  The gathering took a multifaceted approach […]

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10 Jun 2022

CBAM Will Have to Wait

Building on our series of CBAM articles, we report shocking news from the EU Parliament.  Members of the EU Parliament (“MEPs”) unexpectedly rejected a series of legislative proposals from the “Fit for 55” legislative package, including the EU Parliament’s negotiating position on the introduction of a Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (“CBAM”). Back in 2005, the EU established the EU Emissions Trading System (“ETS”) which has since become a cornerstone of the EU’s climate change policy and its most important tool for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.  Since its inception, the ETS is constantly being reformed which was one of the goals […]

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03 Jun 2022

CBAM Proposal: The Wind of Change

In anticipation of the June 7 plenary session when the European Parliament will take on the CBAM proposal, we delve into the key ideas behind and the expected game-changing impact of the regulation on international trade.  In this edition of our CBAM series, find out more about how this wind of change may affect consumers, businesses and economies across the globe. Why is the EU introducing a new carbon pricing policy? As a new policy, the Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (“CBAM”) is being developed to work in conjunction with the EU Emission Trading System (“ETS”) – a cornerstone of the EU’s […]

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27 May 2022

Warming Up CBAM Regulation to Cool the Earth

What has been in the making for years now is set to become a reality very soon.  The EU’s Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (“CBAM”) is expected to be adopted at the plenary session of the European Parliament, which will be held on June 7, 2022.  The EU is finalizing its plans to introduce a charge at its border for carbon emissions associated with products sold in the EU.  This is likely to mark a tectonic shift in international trade with far-reaching implications for businesses and economies around the world that rely on exporting their goods to the European Union.  In […]

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23 May 2022

Sustainability Information Mandatory Under New EU Rules

Leading economic minds are highlighting climate change as one of the most threatening factors to today’s relative economic prosperity.  Although environmental policies have been in place for a long time, they appear to have had little impact in practice.  The lack of clear definition and specific rules in the field may be an important factor, as this has been a cause of much concern and given raise to questionable practices, including the growing phenomenon of greenwashing – a deceptive method of marketing in which a product, good, or service is presented to appear to follow environmental protection principles intended to […]

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19 May 2022

EU’s New Vertical Block Exemption Regulation Revealed

On May 10, 2022, the European Commission adopted a new Vertical Block Exemption Regulation (“VBER“) and related guidelines (“Vertical Guidelines“), following a detailed review of the previous Vertical Block Exemption Regulation dating to 2010 (“old VBER“). The objective of the VBER is to exempt agreements between undertakings operating at different levels of the supply chain (“vertical agreements”): if certain market share thresholds are met, and provided the agreement does not contain certain prohibited restrictions (“hardcore restrictions”). In other words, the VBER aims to recognize which types of vertical agreements are generally efficiency-enhancing and provide benefits to consumers. One of the […]

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13 May 2022

EU lawmakers back switch to zero emission vehicles by 2035

The Committee on the Environment, Public Health, and Food Safety (“ENVI”) decided on Wednesday to accelerate the shift to electric vehicles in Europe to reach increased climate ambitions. In July 2021, as part of the ‘’Fit for 55’’ package, the European Commission (‘’Commission’’) decided to propose an amendment to the Regulation 2019/631 to strengthen the CO2 emission performance standards for new passenger cars and new light commercial vehicles in line with the Union’s increased climate ambition.  Currently, carmakers need to ensure that their average fleet of new cars emits no more than 95 grams of C02 a kilometer. Lawmakers have […]

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22 Apr 2022

Earth Day Special Report: Fit for 55

Today is Earth Day, a global celebration held on April 22 every year to show support for environmental protection. It began on April 22, 1970, and has since grown to include a diverse range of events coordinated globally, involving over a billion people in over 193 nations.  On Earth Day 2016, the United States, the United Kingdom, China, and 120 other countries signed the historic Paris Agreement.  To mark this important day, Gecić Law is bringing you a special Insights Report dedicated to the European Union’s legislative journey toward a carbon-neutral continent.  In July 2021, the European Commission (“EC“) adopted […]

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12 Apr 2022

EU Directive on Shell Companies

What are shell companies? These are legitimate legal entities that do not own assets or conduct business operations.  Although they are not illegal, they may be used illicitly.  Shares of shell companies are not traded on stock exchanges.  Most exist on paper only and are little more than a mailing address. That is why the European Commission (“EC”) has issued a draft directive on shell companies. Legal vs Illegal Use of Shell Companies   Examples of the legal use of a shell corporation could be to serve as vehicles in cross-border transactions, such as mergers and acquisitions. However, shell companies are […]

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25 Mar 2022

Court of Justice of EU Specifies Protection Against Double Jeopardy

The Court of Justice of the European Union (“CJEU“) delivered two judgments on 22 March 2022.  By those judgments, the CJEU ruled on the scope of the protection afforded by the prohibition of ne bis in idem principle in competition law.  The CJEU recalled in both cases that the application of the ne bis in idem principle is subject to a twofold condition.  First, there must be a prior final decision and secondly, the prior decision and the subsequent proceedings must concern the same facts.  The CJEU clarified that the limitations may be imposed on the exercise of a fundamental right, such as the prohibition against double […]

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04 Mar 2022

The battle for supremacy: EU and Romania

In late 2021, the Romanian Constitutional Court issued a statement regarding the judgment of the Court of Justice of the European Union (”Judgment”) in Cases C-357/19 Euro Box Promotion and Others, C379/19 DNA – Oradea Territorial Service, C-547/19 “Romanian Judges Forum”, C-811/19 FQ and others and C-840/19 NC. The Judgment established that national judges are entitled to disregard the decisions of the Romanian Constitutional Court that are not aligned with the EU law without any risk of disciplinary measures.   Moreover, it addressed the Romanian justice reforms and pointed out the mandatory character of the EU’s recommendations, embedded in the Cooperation and […]

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23 Feb 2022

Bogdan Gecić spoke with Adriatic Magazine

Our founder and partner Bogdan Gecić spoke with the regional publication The Adriatic, an English-language publication by the Institute for Strategic Solutions (Inštitut za strateške rešitve) in Ljubljana. It features fundamental business and geopolitical issues of importance for the region of Southeast Europe. The interview was published in the February issue. Bogdan spoke about the Gecić Law’s achievements and its strengths when advising diverse entities in the SEE region. He singled out innovation as the key ingredient to the firm’s success and the decision to expand into new practice areas such as ESG, one of the most pressing issues of […]

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09 Feb 2022

Bogdan Gecić & Ognjen Colić talk about ESG with CEE Legal Matters

Our Founding Partner Bogdan Gecić and Partner | Head of Corporate/M&A Ognjen Colić spoke with the Managing Editor of the preeminent regional legal publication CEE Legal Matters which invited Gecić Law as a leading regional law firm to take part in its featured interview published in the December edition dedicated to the Western Balkans.  They talked about the importance of ESG in the region, the firm’s new practice area and its unique approach to advising clients in the field. Gecić Law recently became the first independent law firm in the region to expand into the area of Environmental, Social & […]

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31 Jan 2022

Ombudsman: EU Commission President’s Text Messages are Public Access Documents

The European Ombudsman Emily O’Reilly stated on Friday that text messages between EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and the CEO of pharmaceutical giant Pfizer are documents the public should have access to. O’Reilly’s opinion indicates that the Commission mishandled a request for public access to these messages, which concern the EU’s purchase of COVID 19 vaccines from the manufacturer. The European Commission had earlier denied a request made on 4 May 2021 via Access Info’s AsktheEU.org platform by Alexander Fanta, a journalist with netzpolitik.org. Access Info’s platform enables citizens of the EU direct access to public information. The […]

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19 Jan 2022

EU’s Global Gateway and China’s Belt and Road Initiative

The Global Gateway initiative was unveiled on December 1, 2021, as a strategy of the European Union (“EU”) to support sustainable infrastructure development around the world.  The EU is planning to invest EUR 300 billion over five years.  The European Commission pitched the Global Gateway as a template for how Europe aims to build more resilient connections across the globe. The Global Gateway is about increasing investment, promoting values and high standards, good governance and transparency, partnerships based on equality, green, clean, secure infrastructure, but also catalyzing and supporting private sector investment in new markets as part of the Global […]

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14 Jan 2022

Making the Most of FDIs in Serbia

For several years in a row, Serbia is ranked among the leading destinations for foreign investors.  According to the Greenfield FDI Performance Index, in 2019 Serbia was ranked first among 105 states observed by the index.  A similar status was maintained throughout the subsequent years as Serbia ranked fifth in 2020, and sixth in 2021.  According to the World Bank Doing Business rankings, Serbia is ranked among business-friendly jurisdictions, whose ease of doing business index grows regularly. The willingness to invest raises concerns regarding the legal and institutional framework of the host economy.  Bilateral investment treaties (“BIT”) have been presented […]

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14 Dec 2021

EU Opens Cluster Four in Accession Negotiations with Serbia

Cluster 4 on the Green Agenda and Sustainable Connectivity was formally opened at an Intergovernmental conference on Tuesday, in Brussels, covering four negotiating chapters. Earlier this year, and in order to make the accession process more efficient, the Commission proposed and the EU Council agreed to implement the revised Enlargement Methodology, according to which negotiating chapters are organized in thematic clusters.  Clusters were envisaged as a means to ensure stronger progress monitoring and accelerated integration.  The Green Agenda and Sustainable Connectivity cluster encompass Chapter 14 on Transport Policy, Chapter 15 on Energy, Chapter 21 on Trans-European Networks and Chapter 27 […]

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13 Dec 2021

European Commission Approves ’Green’ State Aid to Croatia

On December 9, 2021, the European Commission (’’Commission’’) approved Croatian State aid in the amount of EUR 783 million to support the production of electricity from renewable energy sources as part of the European Union’s endeavors to meet the climate and energy objectives set by the Communication ‘A policy framework for climate and energy in the period from 2020 to 2030’. The Croatian scheme will be open until 2023 and will be paid out to the selected beneficiaries for a period of 12 years.  The Commission assessed this scheme under the 2014 Guidelines on State aid for environmental protection and […]

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26 Nov 2021

EU slaps Poland with biggest supremacy fine

The battle for supremacy i.e. primacy between Member State and European Union (“EU”) law is in full swing, with the prospect of even more trouble.  In late October, the EU’s highest court (“CJEU”) issued a landmark daily fine to Poland in the amount of EUR 1 million for failing to comply with CJEU’s order.  This tremendous fine is the biggest to date and may very well be a warning to any other Member State that might try to question the primacy of EU law. Getting to the Biggest Supremacy Fine Polish judicial system reforms are what triggered the dispute between […]

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25 Nov 2021

Ivana Stojanović Raišić lectures at top Italian university

Our own Ivana Stojanović Raišić, Counsel, shared her tremendous knowledge and experience with the students of the esteemed University of Florence (ita. Università degli Studi di Firenze) in a unique experience, as a guest lecturer in the International Business Law Course, led by Prof. Ettore M. Lombardi. Students had the opportunity to listen in and take an active part in an online two-part mini-course titled Elements of Competition Law: An International Perspective, where Ivana provided practical insights into the most interesting aspects of competition law and how they relate to business activity. Students engaged in a number of hands-on exercises […]

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22 Oct 2021

Does the New Act Provide Greater Consumer Protection Opportunities?

On September 9, 2021, the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia adopted a new Consumer Protection Act (“Act”), which entered into force on September 19, 2021.  The Act shall become applicable three months following its entry into force i.e. on December 20, 2021 (save for the articles regulating out-of-court settlements of consumer disputes, which shall become applicable six months following the entry into force i.e. on March 20, 2022). The Act’s main objectives are the improvement of consumer protection, more efficient implementation of statutory solutions and the comprehensive harmonization of consumer rights in Serbia with EU consumer protection law, […]

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04 Oct 2021

EU Proposes the Prolongation of the State Aid Temporary Framework

The European Commission has proposed the prolongation of the State aid Temporary Framework until 30 June 2022, in order to expedite the ongoing Covid-19 economic recovery in Europe. The Temporary Framework was initially adopted on 19 March 2020 and to this date, it was amended and prolonged five times (more information available here and here). Margaret Vestager, the Executive Vice-President, who is in charge of the competition policy said that we are finally seeing improvements in the EU economy after the big crisis that hit the EU due to Covid-19.  She also added: ’’[W]e need to be aware of disparities […]

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06 Sep 2021

Irish watchdog issues record fine in WhatsApp data protection ruling

The Irish Data Protection Commission (“DPC”) fined Facebook’s WhatsApp with EUR 225 million in its latest EU data protection ruling.  The fine is the second largest of its kind in the EU. So far, only Amazon paid more in a privacy case in the EU. The DPC said in its ruling on September 2 that WhatsApp’s policies were not in line with the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”), noting it registered breaches of Article 5(1)(a) as well as Articles 12 through 14.  The breaches particularly include the provision of information and the transparency of that information to both users […]

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11 Aug 2021

The Clash Between Brussels and Germany: The Battle for Legal Supremacy or Just a Procedural Quarrel?

The German Constitutional Court and the Court of Justice of the European Union (“CJEU”) have been at odds lately.  In June 2021, the European Commission brought infringement proceedings against Germany over an alleged breach of the principle of primacy of EU law by the German Federal Constitutional Court. Namely, the German Federal Constitutional Court has delivered a landmark decision that is precedent-setting and has tremendous repercussions for the question of the power dynamics between the European Union (“EU”) and a Member State.  Before getting into the nitty-gritty details of this legal conundrum, let us take a look at how things played […]

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09 Aug 2021

Hydrogen Economy – a New Hope for a Polluted World?

It is almost impossible to remain unfazed by the increasing detriments of global warming.  To make matters worse – the worst is yet to come, and we can only mitigate the unavoidable consequences.  To this end, the European Union (“EU”) has sought to develop a strategy for combating climate change and global warming.  The children of this effort are several significant legal acts. As part of the “Fit for 55” initiative, the EU wants to reduce net greenhouse emissions by 55% by 2030.  So, here’s where we get to the hydrogen economy. The global economy is currently based on hydrocarbons […]

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22 Jul 2021

Internet of Things: A New Brainiac in the Hood

A phenomenon known as the Internet of Things (“IoT”), which has been at the forefront of the global tech changes, recently caught the European Commission’s (“Commission”) attention.  The Commission’s Preliminary Report and Q&A on this tech & business sector is a big step towards acknowledging IoT as a market of the future, while simultaneously pointing out some potential dangers of this groundbreaking technology. Internet of Things – a Brief Explanation Let’s imagine this situation: you are not only an ardent coffee drinker but also a sleepyhead.  Your alarm wakes you up at 7.00 am.  You have little precious time to […]

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14 Jul 2021

European Commission officially reveals Fit for 55 package

The European Commission (“EC”) adopted the Fit for 55 climate action plan on Wednesday, announcing a legislative package that aims to cut carbon emissions in the European Union (“EU”) by 55% by 2030, compared to levels measured in 1990.  It also calls for action to make the continent carbon neutral by 2050. The Fit for 55 package includes provisions on expanding the EU Emissions Trading System to charge for carbon emissions in more sectors.  Additionally, it proposes Effort Sharing Regulation and prescribes new emissions-cutting targets per Member State.  It also calls for an increase in renewable energy sources use, creates […]

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05 Jul 2021

Fit for 55 – The Future of Europe

At the event hosted by the API/IPA international press association, Slovenia revealed the priorities of its upcoming presidency of the Council of the EU and the Fit for 55 legislative package stole the spotlight all for itself.  Before leaning into the story of Fit for 55, let us make a quick turn to the conference held just a few days ago. Slovenia is taking over the Council of the EU presidency for the next six months.  The country’s Permanent Representative to the EU Mr. Iztok Jarc and his deputy Ms. Tamara Weingerl-Požar laid out the priorities of the presidency.  Of […]

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21 Jun 2021

Serbia: One small step for a legislator means one big step for the EU acquis alignment

In the process of gradually aligning its legislation with the EU acquis the Government of the Republic of Serbia adopted two bylaws on 11 March 2021 in the field of state aid, complementary to the recently adopted new State Aid Control Act. All this adds value to the start of talks on the Chapter 8 – Competition Policy of Serbia’s negotiation process and may speed up Serbia’s EU accession. Regional Aid Regulation This regulation is designed to promote economic development of the least developed regions or the development of regions with a high level of unemployment. It also allows state […]

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14 Jun 2021

Gatekeepers and Digital Markets – EU Digital Saga continues

Some reports say that it would be impossible to live in the digital world outside of the ecosystem created by Big Tech giants.  The concentration of power in a small number of platforms has allowed some tech companies, popularly known as the Four Horsemen” to exercise unparalleled economic power and social impact almost without any oversight by regulators.  These companies have complete market dominance, each in their respective field of expertise: Apple in consumer electronics and mobile operating systems;  Facebook in the social media, Google in online searches, video-sharing and mapping-based navigation; and, finally, Amazon in the e-commerce market.  Hence, […]

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03 Jun 2021

A Snitch in the Cartel – the Leniency Program

Business cartels between competing market participants are designed to limit or eliminate competition between them, with the objective of increasing prices and profit of the cartel members.  In practice, this is generally achieved by fixing prices, market sharing, limiting output, allocating customers or territories, bid-rigging, or a combination of the above.  Cartels are harmful to consumers and society as a whole since the participating businesses charge higher prices (and earn higher profits) than would be the case in a competitive market. Because of their negative impact on the market, competition legislation fights against cartels, imposing substantial fines on participants, which […]

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26 Apr 2021

Cartel Ties Prompting Disqualification

“Three Strikes, You’re Out!”, or, as in the practice of the UK’s watchdog, “third time is a charm”, but the fourth is not.  Let us check out the rules of fair play when it comes to protecting competition in the UK market. In the early 2020 Associated Lead Mills Ltd (ALM) and H.J. Enthoven Ltd (trading as BLM British Lead), two of the UK’s largest suppliers of rolled lead,  admitted to forming a cartel and thus breaking the law four times by colluding on prices, sharing the rolled lead market by arranging not to target certain customers, and purposely not […]

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20 Apr 2021

Serbian Climate Change Act – what to expect?

During the session held on March 18, Serbian MPs adopted the Climate Change Act (the “Act”).  The Minister of Environmental Protection, Ms. Irena Vujović noted that “the issues concerning environmental protection and climate change are of high priority and have finally received deserved attention from the Government of Serbia.” The main goal of the Act is to reduce greenhouse gas (“GHG”) emissions, as the accelerated development of technology and international trade make pollution, and especially emissions of GHG, a global problem. Long History of Global Climate Change Mitigation Acts The United Nations (the “UN”) noted the impending problems caused by […]

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15 Apr 2021

New Electronic Invoicing Act – which novelties can we expect?

One of the significant novelties in Serbian legislation refers to the regulation of electronic invoicing through the  Electronic Invoicing Bill (the “Bill“).  The adoption of the Bill is on the agenda of the National Assembly on April 21, and it remains to be seen whether the Bill will be modified and if so, which provisions will be changed. Reasons for the adoption of the Bill One of the key reasons for the adoption of the Bill is further harmonization of Serbian legislation with European Union law.  Additionally, in the words of the Minister of Finance, the Bill ”improves the transparency, […]

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13 Apr 2021

Compulsory Childhood Vaccination Does Not Violate the European Convention on Human Rights, ECHR says

Governmental legislation on compulsory vaccination does not violate the European Convention on Human Rights (“Convention”),  the European Court of Human Rights (“ECHR” or “Court”) ruled on April 8.  Particularly, the ECHR noted that compulsory vaccination of children in the Czech Republic did not violate the right to respect for private life. The Case Vavřička and Others v. the Czech Republic The complaint was raised with reference to a fine imposed on Mr Vavřička and the non-admission of the child applicants to nursery school. The applicants said the legislation violated their rights under the Convention. Applicants claimed that the Czech state […]

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02 Apr 2021

EU Digital Saga Continues – Digital Services Act: A Service to Consumers, but a Disservice to Businesses?

After a short break from our previous reflections on the EU’s new set of regulations concerning digital markets (more details available here), we are back with an even more vivid and thorough breakdown of the proposed regulation. To pick up where we left off, we will be taking a closer look at the Digital Services Act (“DSA“ or „Act“). As we have already familiarized ourselves with the EU’s goals and ambitions regarding new digital market regulation, we can now fully indulge ourselves by taking a closer look at the Act.  We hope that you managed to catch your breath because […]

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26 Mar 2021

The Internet – another outlet for publishing creative work and another headache for IP law

For many years now, watching movies and series has shifted to various internet platforms, while authors are wondering where their copyrights are in all of this. Answers to that question should be provided by the Copyright and Related Rights Act (‟Copyright Act”), which came into operation more than 11 years ago, during a surge in the use of various data exchange platforms.  Data is exchanged much faster, and computer technology is far more complex than it was before, and the Copyright Act is lagging behind in its response to emerging challenges regarding new ways of using technology and protecting authors. […]

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24 Mar 2021

Vertical Restraints in the Sights of the Commission for Protection of Competition

In the last few months, the Serbian National Competition Authority (“NCA”) has turned its attention to sanctioning agreements between undertakings where resale prices are maintained.  After taking cases against consumer electronics undertakings, the NCA recently opened an investigation against a general importer and its three car dealers of “Audi” vehicles, in the course of its sectoral analysis of the markets of sales and after-sales services of motor vehicles. Resale Price Maintenance – What is the Problem? Resale price maintenance (“RPM”) is a contractual provision where the supplier (usually the manufacturer or general importer) binds the buyer (usually the distributor or […]

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19 Mar 2021

Silent, but not Uncooperative – an Important Decision by the ECJ

As the famous Arabic proverb says, ‘Silence is golden’.  And it seems that this nugget of ancient wisdom still holds true today – even in law; even when it comes to a high-profile case before the European Court of Justice.  To find out why would silence be so important as to cause a stir among lawyers throughout Europe, we must track back to the beginning.  What happened? On February 2, 2021, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) released a landmark ruling on due process rights in preliminary reference from the Italian Constitutional Court in DB v Commissione Nazionale per le […]

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10 Mar 2021

Gecić Law’s Milestone Win in Landmark State-Aid Case Attracts Media Attention

Gecić Law is currently representing Bosnia and Herzegovina in a procedure with the Energy Community, a landmark case across the Balkans related to alleged state aid in the construction of Block 7 of the Tuzla Thermal Power Plant, a project worth USD 1.1 billion, with co-counsel Marić & Co. Law Firm based in Sarajevo. Launched in 2018 by the Secretariat of the Energy Community against Bosnia and Herzegovina, the process has been marked by violation of due process, complete disregard for the rights of the defense as well as continuous bids of the prosecution to speed up the process and […]

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09 Mar 2021

Bogdan Gecić, the founder of Gecić Law Firm: There is a lot of room for innovation

Diplomacy & Commerce magazine, a syndication of London’s The Economist magazine for Serbia, prepared a special InFocus supplement as part of its February 2021 issue, with the aim of providing the readers a closer insight into the development of bilateral relations and successful cooperation between Serbia and the United Arab Emirates. Bogdan Gecic, Managing Partner at Gecic Law, a founding and exclusive member of the UAE Serbia Business club since 2019, gave an interview, which can be read in its entirety below. As an industry, the legal profession has been changing significantly. We have always believed there is a lot […]

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05 Mar 2021

Our Energy practice is growing every day

Our Energy practice team has repeatedly demonstrated its credibility by devising unique opportunities for greenfield and brownfield investments for our clients. We provide comprehensive solutions related to privatization, regulatory compliance and due diligence in cooperation with eminent regulatory, corporate and financial experts. Counsel to Norwegian NBT AS on Wind Farms Project in Serbia Our latest accomplishment in the energy sector is providing counsel to NBT AS, Norway, a utility-scale wind power developer (exceeding 100 KW of power), in partnering with WV International (formerly Windvision).  WV International has been developing wind farm projects in Serbia since 2010 and has been active […]

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01 Mar 2021

The Treaty of Nice Turns 20

The Treaty of Nice, a landmark agreement in the history of the European integration process, celebrated its 20th anniversary last Friday. The legislation was signed on February 26, 2001 and came into force on February 1, 2003. The key aim of the Treaty was to introduce institutional changes and decision-making reform, amending the Maastricht Treaty and the Treaty of Rome, which would allow for the ensuing EU enlargement.  The Treaty introduced qualified majority voting in the European Council, removed national vetoes in many areas and gave the European Parliament the power to elect the Commission President. It formalized the principles […]

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04 Jan 2021

Amazon – One of “The Biggest Deals” for EU’s Antitrust Practice

Unbelievable numbers: 840,000 employees, USD 280 billion in revenue for 2019, USD 11.5 billion profit (for the same year) and first centi-billionaire owner ever.  Today, one of the biggest undertakings in global trade.  But, on the other side, one of “The Biggest Deals” for the EU, ever.  We bring you a story of to-ings and fro-ings between Amazon and the EU Commission. Short Recap Rewind to July 17, 2019.  On that day, the Commission opened an investigation into possible anti-competitive conduct by Amazon.  More precisely, an investigation was opened to assess whether Amazon’s use of sensitive data from independent retailers […]

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06 Oct 2020

A new stage in the development of the judiciary in Serbia between 2020-2025

The development of the judiciary is one of the key priorities for the Republic of Serbia. It is a permanent process of modernization and harmonization of the judiciary with the needs of the state and society, in order to ensure rule of law and enhance legal certainty. In line with this, on July 10, the Government of the Republic of Serbia, adopted Judicial Development Strategy for the time period between 2020 and 2025  (“Strategy”), as well as the revised Action Plan for the Chapter 23 (“Action plan”).  We would also like to point out that AmCham Serbia, of which Gecić […]

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20 Jul 2020

Commission Blocks – General Court Unblocks

For some reason May is THE month for competition.  Mays of yesteryear have witnessed many intriguing courtroom battles: May 2016, May 2019 and finally in May 2020. True to form, merger control is making the headlines again.  The General Court (GC) annulled the European Commission’s (Commission) decision in Hutchison 3G UK (Hutchison) and Telefónica UK (Telefónica) merger on May 28, 2020.  If you have not seen it yet, the underlying reason behind the annulment is quite thought-provoking: in a nutshell, the GC held that the Commission made errors in law and manifested errors of assessment, and to boot, infringed essential […]

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24 Apr 2020

Taxation: revised EU list of non-cooperative jurisdictions

The Economic and Financial Affairs Council (“the Council”) on 18 February 2020 adopted revised conclusions on the EU list of non-cooperative jurisdictions for tax purposes (“the EU list”).  The EU list (Annex I) includes non-EU countries or territories which had not made sufficient commitments in response to the EU‘s concerns about taxation arrangements.  The State of play section (Annex II) lists the jurisdictions which had responded with sufficient commitments.  Therefore, the jurisdictions that do not yet comply with all international tax standards but have committed to reforms are included in Annex II.  These countries need to take effective actions to […]

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20 Sep 2018

“Can (’t) poach this” – a new turning point between competition & employment law?

If you open the eighth edition of the Oxford Dictionary of Law and turn to page 461, poaching is defined as “taking game without permission from private land or from land on which the killing of game is restricted. Wild animals cannot usually be stolen […]”.  Although the current degree of development of human rights and basic human decency forbid referring to employees as “wild animals” (at least publicly), and killing is certainly considered a criminal offence, in the corporate world of today to poach someone means to hire an employee from another, often competing, undertaking. Agreements among companies not […]

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20 Aug 2018

It’s a Deal: a new Directive for Stronger Competition Authorities in the EU

On 30 May 2018, the European Commission (“Commission”) announced that the European Parliament and the Council have reached an agreement concerning a proposed new Directive, in order to further build on the Regulation 1/2003 and enable the competition authorities (“NCAs”) of EU Member States to enforce EU antitrust rules more effectively. The new Directive, proposed as the “Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council to Empower the Competition Authorities of the Member States to be more Effective Enforcers and to ensure the Proper Functioning of the Internal Market” (“Proposed Directive”), came out as a consensus  following numerous consultations […]

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22 Jun 2018

GDPR in Serbia (and Other Non-EU Countries) – A Foreign Investors’ Perspective

General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is currently a global hot topic – and for a good reason. It practically revamps the legal framework concerning Data Protection rules, introduces a whole set of new obligations while imposing massive fines for non-compliance.  While the GDPR came into the force recently, it is no surprise that many are worried how it will affect their organizations as the legislation, under certain conditions, is to be applied worldwide —both inside and outside of the EU. Given that compliance with the GDPR will be no mean feat, requiring vast amount of time and resources, no matter how […]

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05 Feb 2018

Possible Savings in the EU: New Study by the European Parliament Published

In December 2017, European Added Value Unit of the European Parliament published the Fourth edition of its report “Mapping the Cost of Non-Europe 2014-2019” (the “Study”).  The Study is especially relevant if placed in the context of challenges the EU is facing today such as: impact of Brexit on the EU Budget and the consequences for the EU’s political and economic interests, the rise of populist parties within the EU Member States and rather sluggish European economic growth. The aim of the Study is to analyze potential increases in annual EU GDP, if different policy initiatives made by the European […]

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