European law

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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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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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 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 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 scope of application in different fields of competition law. Keynote Address – Margrethe Vestager Keynote speaker Margrethe Vestager, EC Commissioner for Competition, delivered a […]

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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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