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Unprecedented times for the entire world, even more so for Montenegro. Apart from the pandemic that still firmly grips the globe, setting back the economies worldwide, Montenegro has witnessed a huge political shift, as the opposition came to power after narrowly winning the parliamentary election held last year. The victory was hailed by many as the beginning of a new era, expecting the new government to lead this Balkan country toward a more stable and prosperous future. Many changes have been announced, and the financial sector was one of the most talked-about topics.

In 2018 the Bulgarian Stock Exchange (BSE) was granted approval by the Financial Supervision Commission (FSC) to create the new Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) Growth Market BEAM (Bulgarian Enterprise Accelerator Market), under the provisions of the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive 2014/65/EU (MiFID II). The new segment of the BSE aims to promote the development of small and medium-sized companies, which have a key role in the economic growth of the country.

On June 17, 2018, the Republic of North Macedonia and the Republic of Greece concluded the Prespa Agreement which, according to Pepeljugoski Partner Valentin Pepeljugoski, “resolved the name issue as a historical problem between the countries and was a step forward for North Macedonia to become an EU member.” After Bulgaria opposed the start of accession negotiations in October 2020 and again in June 2021, he says that “the country’s next hopes for EU membership are tied to the EU Summit on December 14, 2021, when a date for the start of negotiations with the EU is expected. The focus in the next period is on preparing the administration for all challenges related to the negotiation process, starting from the screening to the achievement of the final goal.”

“Immediately after gaining independence in 2006, Montenegro set EU accession and the integration process as one of its foreign policy priorities,” says Jovovic, Mugosa & Vukovic Managing Partner Vanja Mugosa. “It started membership negotiations with the EU in 2012 and has so far opened all 33 negotiating chapters, three of which have already been temporarily closed: Chapter 25 (Science and Research) in 2012, Chapter 26 (Education and Culture) in 2013, and Chapter 30 (External Relations) in 2017.”

According to Ibrahimovic & Co Managing Partner Adi Ibrahimovic, “the EU’s engagement with Bosnia and Herzegovina has gone through sporadic periods of intensifying cooperation and uncertain situations,” leading Dimitrijevic & Partners Partner Davorin Marinkovic to summarize the current status as: “frankly speaking, the public perception is that nobody actually knows.”

At the end of each year, business development and marketing specialists across the globe are busy identifying strategies and components to plan an annual marketing budget. Accordingly, this time around, given the season, we asked Law Firm Marketing experts across the CEE region a question: Which metrics do you look at when planning your marketing budget?

“The genesis of Albania’s EU accession talks dates back to June 2003, when Albania, alongside other Western Balkan countries, was identified as a potential candidate for EU membership,” explains Deloitte Legal Local Legal Partner Sabina Lalaj. While Hoxha, Memi & Hoxha Partner Eris Hoxha points out that Albania was a candidate country since 2014, official membership negotiations were opened only on March 25, 2020. According to Kalo & Associates Co-Managing Partner Aigest Milo, “the next step is for the first Inter-Governmental Conference to be held (presumably during the first semester of 2022),” but Hoxha says “no specific date has been determined yet.”

When I was presented with the opportunity to share my views on lawyering in Serbia and the current legal market, one of my first thoughts was where we were 20 years ago, when Serbia had just opened its doors to foreign capital, privatization started, and international banks and investors began their search for the same quality of advice and advisers they had back home. The bar was dramatically increased, traditional law firms thought they were untouchable, and only a handful of new-generation lawyers, although with very modest international experience, was able to adapt and meet this challenge.

CEE Legal Matters spoke with CMS Partner and Head of Environmental Law Practice in Poland and CEE Agnieszka Skorupinska and CMS Turkey Managing Partner Done Yalcin about the impacts of the EU Green Deal and the rise of ESG in Europe and beyond.

On February 18, 2021, following a five-year preparation period, the Saeima – the parliament of the Republic of Latvia – adopted amendments to the country’s Advocacy Law, addressing, inter alia, the proper corporate form for law firms. Going forward, in Latvia, a law firm must either be a partnership (either general or limited) or a limited liability company. CEE Legal Matters spoke with several Latvian lawyers about the newly amended law.

The introduction of new e-services of the Serbian Business Registers Agency and the beginning of the application of online-based fiscalization are rapidly bringing the Serbian corporate environment to the corporate standards of developed countries.

Mining is significant for North Macedonia, a country with one of the longest mining histories in the Western Balkans and vast natural resources including iron ore, copper, zinc, gold, lead, and lignite. Hence, mining significantly contributes to the development of the Macedonian economy and, in particular, to the development of local governments. Specifically, a local government receives 78% of the fee paid for each concession on its territory. The regulatory framework governing mining is therefore critical for the sector’s future expansion and investment possibilities.

According to the applicable legislation in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BH), domains are not considered as intellectual property rights (IP). The owner of the national domain .ba is the state of BH and any legal or natural person is considered a user of the registered domains, for as long as the yearly maintenance fees are paid regularly.

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.

In issue 8.3 of the CEE Legal Matters magazine, we spoke with Amberlo Co-Founder and CEO Aidas Kavaliauskas to learn more about the company’s cloud-based case management software built for legal professionals. With this issue’s focus on the Baltics and with the company being, at its roots, a Baltic one, we spoke with several law firms in the region that were early adopters of the solution, to learn about their experience using the platform and what advice they have in terms of selecting such a tool for a law firm.

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