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As a young and complex matter, compliance presents numerous challenges for organizations. This is partly due to the lack of global standards, which could provide guidance. As a consequence, organizations are having a hard time recognizing those compliance requirements that are necessary, appropriate and capable of serving as indicators of a functioning Compliance Management System ("CMS"). Therefore, it is highly welcome that the International Organization for Standardization ("ISO") is currently working on a global standard for CMS. read more...
EU: ECJ confirms that purely national promotion of green electricity does not necessarily violate EUThe ECJ ruled at the start of July 2014 that individual EU Member States are allowed to establish renewable energy support schemes that provide for the awarding of tradable green certificates to producers of green electricity solely with respect to the green electricity produced on the territory of that State. The fact that the national promotion scheme could possibly impede electricity imports from other Member States is justifiable on account of climate change prevention and environmental protection. Thus, no violation of Article 34 TFEU. The ECJ ruling might present a setback for the supporters of a harmonized, EU-wide (common) system of renewables support schemes. read more...
On 3 April 2014, the Parliament of the Republic of Moldova (Moldova) passed Act No. 53/2014 on amending and supplementing certain legal acts (Act No. 53). Act No. 53 entered into force on 25 April 2014 and inter alia changed the Civil Code and Act No. 135/2007 on limited-liability companies (Act on LLCs). The effected changes have a direct and positive impact on the legal aspects which should be observed while incorporating and operating a business in Moldova. read more...
A decision issued by the Supreme Administrative Court (the "Court") on 31 October 2013 (recently published) considered a telephone conversation between two individuals - the manager of an outdoor equipment producer and a representative of its distributor - as legitimate evidence in administrative proceedings. The decision confirmed the precedent decision of the Regional Court in Brno ("the Regional Court") which upheld the original decision of the Czech Competition Authority (The Office for the Protection of Competition, "CCA").
In 2013, the Romanian Competition Council finalised five investigations concerning bid-rigging infringements (amounting to almost a quarter of the authority's investigations on competition law infringements), of which one led to fines of EUR 2.8 million and the other four were closed for lack of evidence. Last year, the competition authority also launched two new investigations on possible bid-rigging infringements. The average duration for investigation of this type of infringement is approximately two years. read more...
The transfer of Austrian real estate triggers a 3.5% (2% in case of intra-family transfers) Austrian real estate transfer tax. In 2012, the Austrian Constitutional Court ruled that the provisions in the Austrian Real Estate Transfer Tax on the tax basis are not in conformity with the country's constitutional law. Shortly prior to the expiry of the transition period, new provisions for determining the tax base for Austrian real estate transfer tax purposes entered into force as of 1 June 2014. read more...
The Hungarian National Bank announced at the end of May that as of autumn 2014, Hungary wishes to follow the approach taken by many other countries by creating a "bad bank". The bad bank concept is not new in Hungary: the approach was already discussed back in 2010, but was turned down due to lack of financing. A bad bank is a special institution with the sole purpose of purchasing and managing the non-performing loans ("NPLs") of commercial banks, so the overall quality of the corporate portfolio of the commercial banks will improve and to make it easier for the banks to meet their capital requirements. read more...
In a recent decision, the Austrian Supreme Court considered the validity of the payment of a cash consideration to a public limited-liability company in the course of an increase of its stated capital (decision dated 25 March 2014, file no. 9 Ob 68/13k). As a consequence of the current Austrian jurisprudence on this matter, any and all business transactions that occur in a substantive and temporal connection with a formal increase of the stated capital - including debt-equity swaps - must be made under the disclosure and examination rules for contributions in kind. read more...
On 1 May 2014, the transitional period during which Slovakia, following the country's accession of the EU, was granted an exception for keeping in place legal limitations regarding the acquisition of agricultural land and forests expired. With the passing of this transitional period, Slovakia was obliged to bring its legislation in line with EU laws and abolish restrictions applicable to EU foreigners. The necessary law was adopted, but - largely due to the concerns of the public that foreign nationals and entities will start buying up the country - a new set of limitations was introduced that will likely complicate the acquisition of agricultural land for everyone (both Slovak and foreign entities). read more...
The fact that the new Hungarian Civil Code, which entered into force on 15 March 2014, at last recognized the concept of transfer of contractual position was a welcome development. Previously, a similar effect was achievable through the parallel assumption of debt and assignment of claims, but this solution was problematic in rather complex transactions (e.g. in case a lender wishes to transfer its stake under a credit facility agreement along with all security interests). read more...