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Infrastructure, the Open Balkan initiative, and the ongoing judicial reform are the major topics in Albania, according to Tashko Pustina Partner Florian Hasko. 

Contributed by Kalo & Associates.

As one of the next wave candidates for membership in the European Union, Albania went a long distance in the harmonization of its legal framework with the acquis communautaire in recent years. The most recent country progress report of the European Commission, issued as part of the 2020 Enlargement Package for the Western Balkans, recognized the legislative efforts of the country to align its legal framework to EU requirements and to enhance the country’s ability to assume the obligations of membership.Albania first ventured into the legal regulation of antitrust in 1995 by introducing a law On Competition, which dealt with antitrust, as well as with unfair competition and consumer protection matters. As a first attempt, it raised a lot of questions, but it also opened the topic of competition law in the country and served as a starting point in developing the relevant legal framework.

Herbst Kinsky has advised GoStudent on its EUR 300 million Series D. On the investors' side, Wolf Theiss advised Prosus, Schoenherr and Frankfurt's office of Goodwin Procter advised Left Lane Capital, and reportedly Baker McKenzie advised Tencent.

Brandl Talos has advised Mostly AI on its USD 25 million Series B financing round. Molten Ventures led the financing round and was advised by Herbst Kinsky. Reportedly, YPOG advised existing investors Earlybird and 42CAP.

Strong M&A trends, developing market sectors, and a surprisingly booming economy is what Austria is buzzing about, according to PHH Partner Rainer Kaspar.

Borovtsov and Salei has advised SEW-Eurodrive on the greenfield construction of a production facility on the territory of the Free Economic Zone Minsk.

Sorainen has promoted nine new Partners in three different countries. Estonia's Kaido Kunnapas and Katlin Krisak, Lithuania's Simonas Skukauskas, Monika Malisauskaite-Vaupsiene, Evaldas Dudonis, Kazimieras Karpickis, and Indre Sceponiene, and Belarus' Ann Laevskaya and Kirill Laptev have all joined the Sorainen partnership at the beginning of 2022.

Substantial changes for advocates, the economic impact of sanctions, and Russian banks and investors becoming more active as a result are the three topics at the top of Belarusian lawyers’ agendas, according to SBH Law Offices Partner Alexander Bondar.

The Milosevic Law Firm has successfully represented Alumina before the Higher Commercial Court in Banja Luka in a property-related dispute with Pavgord and Ukio Bank.

Sajic has successfully represented the interests of Bitminer Factory against UniCredit Bank before the court of first instance.

Schoenherr has advised the borrower HE Dabar on a EUR 190 million loan facility granted by the Export-Import Bank of China for the development of the 160-megawatt Dabar hydropower plant. Milbank reportedly advised CEXIM Bank on the deal.

Boyanov & Co, working with BDK Advokati, has advised the Eurobank Group on the restructuring of the financing to two hotels. K. Argyridou and Associates reportedly advised Eurobank as well.

Gugushev & Partners has promoted Victor Gugushev and Dafinka Stoycheva to Senior Partner.

Political stability, managed inflation, and support plans for the most vulnerable social groups and businesses could ensure a financially stable year in Bulgaria, according to Tsvetkova Bebov & Partners Managing Partner Nikolay Bebov.

Savoric & Partners has advised Deltron on its 80% sale to Beijer Ref. Ilej & Partners, in cooperation with Karanovic & Partners, advised Beijer Ref on the deal.

Nebojsa Vitez and Luka Porobija have been promoted to Equity Partners at Porobija & Spoljaric as of January 1, 2022.

Marohnic, Tomek & Gjoic has advised Immofinanz on the acquisition of ENS Development in Croatia. Andelovic, Siketic & Tomic advised the sellers on the deal.

Allen & Overy has advised Raiffeisenbank on the opt-in of its outstanding English law governed mortgage covered bonds into the new regulatory framework in the Czech Republic, stipulating rules as to the governance of cover pools, and on the consequent issuance of EUR 500 million mortgage covered bonds listed on the Luxembourg Stock Exchange.

Clifford Chance has advised Ceskoslovenska Obchodni Banka on the refinancing of the Czech solar portfolio consisting of five photovoltaic power plants acquired in 2020 for Czech subsidiaries of Enery Development group. CMS advised Enery on the deal.

The government of the Czech Republic has approved a new decree concerning investment incentives. The new rules should bring significant changes not only for large investors, but also for small and medium-sized technology companies, which will now also be able to access direct financial support. The new rules will take effect as of 1 January 2022.

Boyanov & Co, working with BDK Advokati, has advised the Eurobank Group on the restructuring of the financing to two hotels. K. Argyridou and Associates reportedly advised Eurobank as well.

Kyriakides Georgopoulos has advised Evo Payments on the acquisition of a 51% stake in merchant acquiring business spin-off from the National Bank of Greece.

Lydia Sofrona has become a Partner at Koutalidis, in the firm's Tax Law practice.

Government Decree 598/2021 (the Decree) has allowed employers to order their employees to be vaccinated against covid-19 since 15 November 2021. Since it came into force, the Decree has been the subject of much discussion and interpretation by legal practitioners and commentators.

Noerr has advised the Normeston Group on the sale of 79 Lukoil-branded service stations in Hungary to MOL, the country's largest oil and gas company. CMS advised MOL on the acquisition.

On June 4, 2021, CEE Legal Matters reported that Zavisin Semiz & Partneri and the Budapest office of Dentons advised GTC on the Serbian legal aspects of the deal. CEE In-House Matters spoke with Klara Bujdoso, Group Legal Counsel at GTC, to learn more about the sale.

Pohla & Hallmagi, working with Osborne Clarke, has advised GeneCode on a EUR 2 million R&D grant from Enterprise Estonia for the acceleration of its GDNF Mimetics program.

Sorainen has advised Cariad Estonia, a Volkswagen Group’s car software company, on a cross-border merger whereby its Luxembourg parent company is merged into Cariad Estonia, making it a subsidiary of Cariad SE.

Sorainen has advised Estonian healthcare professionals service provider Synbase on a pro bono basis on data protection matters and has helped it launch a web portal offering access to medical databases.

The recent peaceful transition of power following parliamentary and local elections in Kosovo demonstrated the country’s commitment to democratic values, according to Vokshi & Lata Law Firm Partner Urim Vokshi.

In 2016, Kosovo adopted Law No. 05/L-082 on Natural Gas (the Natural Gas Law). The purpose of the law was to lay down a legal basis for the establishment of a legal framework that will govern the transmission, distribution, supply, usage, and storage of natural gas. The Natural Gas Law is deemed to be aligned with EU law, including Directive No. 2009/73/EC on common rules of the internal European natural gas market and Regulation No. 715/2009/EC on conditions of access to natural gas transmission networks.

Hodaj & Partners has joined the Rivet:Net law firm alliance in the Western Balkans.

TGS Baltic has advised Pax8 on its acquisition of cloud services and software distributor TVG. Cobalt advised TVG's shareholders on the sale.

Sorainen has advised Stockmann on the sale of its Tallinn and Riga department store properties to Viru Keemia Grupp.

Senior Associate Marta Cera was appointed Co-Head of Ellex's Finance and Tax practice group in Latvia, alongside Associate Partner Valters Diure.

Ellex, working with Jankovic Popovic Mitic, has successfully represented the interests of Alita before the Court of Appeals of Lithuania.

Motieka & Audzevicius has advised Linas Agro Group on its acquisition of Agro Logistic Service from Kauno Grudai. Cobalt advised Kauno Grudai on the deal.

Ellex has advised Japanese venture capital fund Mistletoe on its investment in Lithuanian startup Bee Loop. Aliant Tarvainyte Vilys reportedly advised Bee Loop on the deal.

Contributed by Polenak.

As 2022 approaches, North Macedonia finds itself in a little bit of a political commotion, however, there are signs that the country might see light at the end of the tunnel with energy investments coming in, according to Debarliev, Dameski & Kelesoska Partner Emilija Kelesoska Sholjakovska.

North Macedonia introduced its first competition law in 1999, however, the law that is now applicable was adopted in 2010. With this law, North Macedonia brought its harmonization of competition rules with the EU acquis closer.

Cobzac & Partners has successfully represented the interests of CB Eximbank JSC before the Supreme Court of Justice of the Republic of Moldova in a dispute with Avicomagro.

Contributed by Gladei & Partners.

NNDKP has advised Safety Broker on the sale of 80% of the company’s shares to the Polish group Unilink.

Vacant Supreme Court Justice positions, as well as the inability to appoint a Minister of Justice, is affecting the justice system and Montenegro’s EU integration prospects, says Vukmirovic Misic Managing Partner Lana Vukmirovic Misic.

Digital nomads, cyber risk insurance, and an ever-growing energy sector – these are the hottest topics in Montenegro right now, according to CMS Partner Milica Popovic.

Dentons has advised the PPF Group on its sale of mobile phone operator Telenor Montenegro to Hungarian technology company 4iG. Andric Law advised PPF on local Montenegrin law aspects. Kinstellar reportedly advised 4iG on the deal. 

Noerr has advised the Normeston Group on the sale of 79 Lukoil-branded service stations in Hungary to MOL, the country's largest oil and gas company. CMS advised MOL on the acquisition.

Clifford Chance has advised facility agent, security agent, account bank, mandated lead arranger, original lender, and hedge counterparty Santander Bank Polska, mandated lead arranger and original lender CaixaBank Oddzial w Polsce and hedge counterparty CaixaBank S.A on the PLN 152 million facilities agreement for the financing of a portfolio of wind farms belonging to Elawan Energy. Allen & Overy reportedly advised Elawan on the deal.

MFW Fialek has advised Music & More on the sale of a minority stake in the company to an undisclosed Luxembourg-based fund.

Popovici, Nitu, Stoica & Associates has advised Ameropa Grains on its acquisition of the Mirosi/Caldararu agricultural base, including warehouses, silos, dwellings, and offices, from Net Farming, part of Agricover Group.

Grecu & Asociatii has advised Romania-Insider.com on Marius Istrate's investment in the media company. 

Competition and M&A lawyer Roxana Ionescu and Banking & Finance specialist Cosmin Tilea have been promoted to Partner at RTPR.

DLA Piper has advised Taxiaggregator and its founder on the sale of the company to Qiwi. Squire Patton Boggs reportedly advised Qiwi on the deal.

Former Senior Associate Nadezhda Minina has been promoted to Partner in Nektorov, Saveliev & Partners' corporate practice.

Baker Botts has advised Russia's Sovcombank on its acquisition of the CIV Life insurance company from Talanx subsidiary HDI International.

Ellex, working with Jankovic Popovic Mitic, has successfully represented the interests of Alita before the Court of Appeals of Lithuania.

Lakatos, Koves & Partners and BDK Advokati advised Indotek on its acquisition of 11 office buildings and five business parks in Belgrade from GTC for EUR 267.6 million. Dentons and Zavisin Semiz i Partneri advised GTC on the deal.

Boyanov & Co, working with BDK Advokati, has advised the Eurobank Group on the restructuring of the financing to two hotels. K. Argyridou and Associates reportedly advised Eurobank as well.

Former Squire Patton Boggs Of Counsel Stanislav Durica has joined Dentons as a Partner in Bratislava and will lead the office's Employment and Labor practice.

Eversheds Sutherland has advised Hartenberg Capital on its minority stake divestiture and agreement with CVC Capital Partners for a co-controlling holding in FutureLife.

CMS has advised Slovakia's Nafta International on the buyout of its joint venture partner Cub Energy to become the sole owner of the Ukrainian company holding a license for the exploration and production of hydrocarbons near Uzhhorod.

Former Senior Associates Maja Subic and Katarina Mervic have been promoted to Partner at Senica & Partners, Andersen Global's Slovenian member.

When in September 2020 the Slovenian government decided that price control measures in the fuel products market were no longer necessary and fully liberalized the market, one of the expected benefits was a positive impact on the price competition.

In view of the upcoming parliamentary elections competition among the political parties is intensifying, while the Slovenian economy struggles to recover, according to CMS Partner Ales Lunder.

The Turkish Data Protection Authority (“DPA”) has published Draft Guidelines on Cookies (“the Draft Guidelines”) on January 11, 2022, providing explanations on cookies and practical advices for data controllers who process personal data through the use of cookies.

Paksoy has advised Global Founders Capital on leading a USD 2 million seed funding round for Norma. The Arikan Law Firm reportedly advised Norma on the deal.

Paksoy has advised Global Founders Capital on its USD 600,000 investment in Beije. Kinstellar Turkey affiliate firm Gen Temizer Ozer advised Beije on the deal.

Sayenko Kharenko, working with the Italian office of Bird & Bird, has successfully represented Sistema Prosecco before the Supreme Court of Ukraine in an unfair competition case over a Ukrainian wine producer using the Prosecco brand for its wines.

Dentons and BASEAK have assisted Volkswagen in obtaining antitrust and merger control clearances for a joint venture with Italian energy supplier Enel X. 

Valentyn Zasukha has joined Hillmont Partners as Partner and Head of Corporate and M&A Practice.