EU Law

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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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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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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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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