European law

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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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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11 Jan 2022

Bogdan Gecić – Innovation is about continuous learning

We recently won the Oscars of the legal world! Gecić Law was named the top legal firm in the 150-million-strong SEE market at The Lawyer European Awards 2021, placing our firm among the crème de la crème of the European legal market. Gecić Law was the only law firm from the former Yugoslavia and the Western Balkans to be shortlisted for the award and the first firm ever to be awarded the coveted prize in the new category covering the dynamic regional market. The news of the award going to a Belgrade-based firm sparked significant interest. Our Founding Partner Bogdan […]

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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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13 Oct 2021

What is ESG and why is it important?

Multinational entities and governments are pushing for more action regarding Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) issues. As a result, enterprises increasingly integrate the ever-changing social and environmental factors into their business strategies. The concept of business success has changed and so must the actions they take. But what exactly is ESG? ESG is a set of standards to guide corporate policies to ensure sustainable development in the fields of environment, social and corporate governance. How Did We Get to ESG? Only twenty years ago, if one would ask a group of individuals with a business background about the main objective […]

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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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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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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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11 May 2021

EU to apply new enlargement methodology to Serbia and Montenegro

The Council of the EU agreed on Tuesday to apply its revised enlargement methodology in the accession negotiations of Serbia and Montenegro.  The new rules within the accession process aim to increase contacts at the ministerial level and promote fundamental reforms in the two countries.  Additionally, the new enlargement methodology has the goal of improving the predictability of the accession process. Furthermore, it reorganizes chapters into clusters to speed up negotiations between the states with the EU. The decision comes after the European Commission issued a Communication in February which addressed the need to improve the accession process. The new […]

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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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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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16 Nov 2017

The Energy Community Recognizes “Serbian Menarini”

The Energy Community, the quintessential energy organization aiming to extend EU’s internal energy market and EU acquis to southeastern Europe and the Black Sea region, and create an integrated & sustainable pan-European energy market, recently published its 2016/2017 Annual Implementation Report (Report) (available for download), where it officially acknowledged our ongoing constitutional challenge against the Serbian Competition Act, secondary legislation and general regulations.  The report does a noteworthy job in properly identifying some of the key arguments set out in the constitutional challenge, particularly the criminal nature of competition proceedings, lack of procedural safeguards required by the ECHR, and that the […]

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22 Sep 2017

Challenges Against Croatia by Agrokor’s Ex-Owner?

For the first time since Agrokor—one of the leading regional companies with almost 60,000 employees, became the biggest national news in the Balkans for facing liquidity issues—former Agrokor owner, Ivica Todoric, broke his silence, claiming he gave up control “under duress” and that “this is not Parmalat” indicating a potential and broader legal battle against the Croatian state on multiple fronts?  Possible ramifications may include EU law, state aid & competition issues, constitutional claims, ECHR and even more.  The extensive public announcement issued today and signed by Mr. Todoric points to “an unconstitutional and illegal nationalization” and states he “will […]

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15 Sep 2017

Serbia and Montenegro: state aid spotlight on corporate profit tax

Both Serbia and Montenegro have come under pressure from the European Commission to amend their respective Corporate Profit Tax Acts to bring tax incentives in line with EU law. This update provides a closer look and analysis, which suggests that amendments are an option worth considering for both Serbia and Montenegro. However, any such legislative change would need to be implemented in a manner that takes into account the interests of all stakeholders, including the interests of investors benefiting from the existing incentive schemes. The European Commission in Chapter 8 of its Screening Report for Serbia, emphasized that specific aid […]

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26 Jun 2017

Thresholds for Merger Control in Serbia – a Treasure Island of False Positives?

The Serbian 2009 Protection of Competition Act (as amended in 2013) (the Act) provides for rather low merger control thresholds, compared both to EU law and countries in the region. Thresholds set this low can (and usually do) result in excessive merger control which eventually brings more harm than good to market competition.  In order to put an end to this, a change in decisional practice and/or legislative change in regards to this important aspect of merger control is required. The Act provides for rather low merger control thresholds, compared both to EU law and countries in the region.  Namely, […]

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21 Jun 2017

New EU Data Protection Rules – Should Serbian Companies Be Worried?

The new EU data protection framework, set to come into force on May 24, 2018 in the form of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is directly binding in all Member States, however its scope goes beyond the boundaries of the EU – affecting foreign companies that deal with personal data of EU citizens.  National Data Protection authorities of EU member states already have certain powers over foreign enterprises, as seen in the landmark Costeja case (C‑131/12) where Google Inc., an American company, was forced to protect a Spanish national’s right to the respect of his private life.  The GDPR […]

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25 May 2017

“Sharing Economy” in the Spotlight – Let’s Call a Spade a Spade, Says EU Advocate General on Uber

On 11 May 2017, Advocate General of the Court of Justice of the European Union, Mr. Maciej Szpunar, issued a landmark opinion on legal qualification of Uber, the US ride hailing app, claiming that, from the perspective of the EU law, Uber should be characterized and treated as a transport company rather than as a mere information technology provider. The question that was posed to the EU highest court and that, according to Advocate General, needs to be assessed on a rather technical level, deals with Uber’s standing within the EU regulatory framework. Although non-binding, the opinion given by the […]

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26 Apr 2017

New Data Protection Enforcement: Is Your Business Ready for It?

Businesses beware – imposing fines of up to 10% of the company’s Serbia-originated annual income in respect to enforcing Data Protection compliance will be one of the measures available to the Commissioner1  as of June 1, 2017, when the new Administrative Procedure Act is set to come into force. The changes to the Administrative Enforcement Procedure are going to allow this Data Protection Authority to enforce its decisions by fining companies in an amount considerably higher than the maximum enforcement-related fine of RSD 200,000.00 (approx. EUR 1,600.00) allowed by the current statute. This means that all companies will, if ordered […]

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12 Apr 2017

EU Competition: Third Time’s a Charm? Not if you Ask the European Commission

On March 29, 2017, the European Commission (“Commission”) officially blocked the third attempt to implement the merger between the London Stock Exchange Group (“LSE”) and Deutsche Börse AG.  Said decision created an insurmountable obstacle to further cooperation of the two groups which was aimed at creating a European powerhouse able to compete with strong American and fast-emerging Asian financial markets. The long planned merger was to give rise to the world’s largest exchange by total income, the biggest for equities listings, and to an entity that would control more derivatives trades than any other entity in the world.1  It would […]

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22 Nov 2016

Neutrality Everywhere? A Brief Look at the Chillin’Competition Conference 2016

For the second year in a row, the Chillin’Competition conference drew practitioners, scholars and regulators from across Europe with a promise of an unparalleled array of distinguished speakers focusing on the topic of the neutrality principle and its role in competition law. And it certainly delivered! Alfonso Lamadrid, one of the founders of the Chillin’Competition blog (seen giving the opening remarks above), started the conference by stressing the importance of discussing the concept of substantive neutrality, its meaning and the scope of application in different fields of competition law. Keynote Address – Margrethe Vestager Keynote speaker Margrethe Vestager, EC Commissioner […]

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07 Nov 2016

Does Commuting Equals Work? ECJ Clarifies

Results of one of the latest surveys recently carried out by British Regus, global work-space provider, have revealed that commuting is being experienced as a time waste for nearly one third of UK professionals, given that it does not fall within their working hours.  Said survey led to the actualization of a pivotal judgment rendered by the Court of Justice of the European Union (hereinafter: ECJ) in 2015, according to which such daily journeys undertaken by workers without a fixed or habitual place of work between their homes and the premises of their customers constitute working time. After processing obtained […]

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11 Mar 2016

Italian Concessions for Maritime Operators – A Tsunami for European Services Market?

On February 25, 2016, in the joined cases Promoimpresa srl v Consorzio dei Comuni della Sponda Bresciana del Lago di Garda e del Lago di Idro, Regione Lombardia, and Mario Melis, Tavolara Beach Sas, and Dionigi Piredda, Claudio Del Giudice v Comune di Loiri Porto San Paolo, Provincia di Olbia Tempio (hereinafter: Promoimpresa and others), Mr. Maciej Szpunar, an Advocate General at the EU Court of Justice of the European Union (the “ECJ”) since 2013, produced a nonbinding opinion for the ECJ stating that the European Union (the “EU”) law precludes national legislation under which the period of validity of […]

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28 Jan 2016

Serbia Revamps Merger Control Procedure

On 23 January 2016 the Serbian Government adopted the new Regulation on the Content and Method of Submittal of Request for Issuing of Approval for Proposed Concentration (Official Gazette of RS no. 5/2016 – the “Regulation”) that will be effective as of 2 February 2016. The importance of the new Regulation lies in the fact that it introduces a simplified method for notification of the proposed concentration, harmonizing in that regards the national procedure with the existing EU procedure for notification of concentration. The simplified procedure allows merging undertakings to use a shorter notification form for concentration that are unlikely […]

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08 Oct 2015

Croatian Trade Ban: How Economic Operators Can Protect Their Rights Against Anti-Trade State Conducts?

The purpose of this brief is to highlight the consequences of the unilateral decision by the state of Croatia, as a member of the European Union, to close its borders for transport coming from Serbia between 17 and 25 September 2015 and to emphasize potential breaches of legal principles the EU has been founded on. We take into consideration the multitude of acts, treaties and agreements which constitute legal sources of the European Union, as well as precedents set by the highest court of the EU, and explore potential avenues for legal redress for those whose interests were harmed by […]

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