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In December, the European Commission (“Commission”) issued a Statement of Objections (“SO”) to Facebook’s parent company Meta Platforms Inc. The Commission said that based on its preliminary view, Facebook had violated EU antitrust rules by distorting competition for online display advertising on social media linked to Facebook Marketplace.

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.

At the beginning of last year, the Electronic Invoicing Act (“Act“) was passed, which entered into force on May 7, 2021. Since the Act brought significant changes to the Serbian economy, the application of some provisions of the Act is postponed, so the latest set of provisions will apply from January 1, 2023. It is when VAT payers must start issuing electronic invoices in all mutual transactions with other VAT payers from the private sector and transactions with public sector entities. Even in the very first stage of this Act, Gecić Law gave an insight into which novelties we can expect.

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?

The telecommunication industry in Serbia and the region is going through transformative changes at the core of its business. The market has seen significant consolidation and competition for consumers has become tough. Considerable investment has ensued in the sector, introducing significant changes in both services and delivery. These trends have sparked a remarkable focus shift from traditional land and mobile telephony services to information technologies and media distribution. Consumer needs and aspirations, fueled by the convergence of technologies, have set the bar high, and telecommunication companies have been able to adapt quickly.

Although there are several incentives for renewable energy projects supported by the state, there also seem to be several factors that could impede Serbia’s potential for renewables and deter further investments in the sector. Kinstellar Belgrade Managing Partner Branislav Maric, JPM Jankovic Popovic Mitic Senior Partner Jelena Gazivoda, and Gecic Law Partner Ognjen Colic weigh which will carry a stronger impact.

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.

On November 10, four Banking & Finance experts from Croatia, Hungary, Romania, and Serbia sat down for a virtual round table moderated by CEE Legal Matters Managing Editor Radu Cotarcea to discuss banking consolidation, financing availability, the effects of high interest rates, bank capitalization, green financing, the specter of loan restructuring, and the other challenges the sector is facing.

Continuing our series on opportunities for investment in Serbia, we discuss the real estate sector.  Historically, countries have been reluctant to allow foreigners to acquire real estate. In the past, real estate (primarily lands) symbolized its owners’ power, and today apartments, buildings, houses, properties, mines, and fields have significant worth. Nevertheless, globalization has increased the dynamics of “international” real estate trade. Real estate has thus become an important segment in international investment, both as a secondary part of the project (leasing or even buying space for the investors’ regular business operations) and as the very purpose of the investment (real estate construction, exploitation of mineral resources, construction of roads, etc.). As discussed in our previous articles, Bilateral Investment Treaties (“BITs”) play a crucial role in encouraging and securing foreign investors to invest in a foreign country, this time in real estate.

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“).

On October 11, 2021, CEE Legal Matters reported that Gecic Law had Launched a new ESG Practice, co-headed by Partner and Head of Corporate/M&A Ognjen Colic and Head of Operations Hristina Kosec. CEELM spoke with Gecic Law Founding Partner Bogdan Gecic and Colic to learn more about the new practice.

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Gecic Law at a Glance

Committed to redefining a law firm's role in an emerging regional market, Gecić Law is a full-service law firm that advises international and local clients from the public and private sectors in navigating the complex legal landscape of the region across multiple practice areas. Members of the Gecić Law team have graduated from leading universities in the US and Europe. They have extensive local and international experience, with a particular focus on EU regulatory frameworks and international trade and a proven track record in providing innovative and practical solutions in the most complex of matters.

Gecić Law is an exclusive member of two leading global alliances, TerraLex and TAGLaw, extending its international footprint. The firm and its lawyers have continuously been recognized in several practice areas by elite global directories, including The Legal 500, Chambers and Partners and Benchmark Litigation. Gecić Law was named Law Firm of the Year: South Eastern Europe 2021 and Law Firm of the Year: Eastern Europe and the Balkans 2020 at The Lawyer European Awards and was repeatedly nominated in other practice areas.

For more details, please visit geciclaw.com.