SEE Legal Releases the Southeast Europe Energy Handbook 2019

The SEE Legal Energy-Infrastructure Practice Group is proud to present the 5th edition of the Southeast Europe Energy Handbook. The aim of the Handbook is to highlight the major aspects in the energy sector, such as market structures, licensing, price regulations, access to the grid, etc., and to provide the major legislative updates which took place over the past year in the SEE region.

ECJ: Storing Cookies Requires User’s Active Consent

On 1 October 2019, the European Court of Justice (the “ECJ”) handed down its long-awaited preliminary ruling on the meaning of consent regarding cookies following a request from the German Federal Court of Justice during a case between the Federation of Consumer Organisations and the lottery services provider Planet49 GmbH (Case C673/201, Planet49 GmbH v. Bundersverband der Verbraucherzentralen und Verbraucherverbaende – Verbraucherzentrale Bunderverband e.V). In a nutshell, Planet49 GmbH operated an online lottery scheme which (i) asked via a pre-ticked box for user’s consent for placing web analytics cookies and (ii) required users to provide mandatorily their consent to receiving marketing emails by third parties as a precondition for their participation in the lottery.

The SEE Legal Member Firms Top-ranked by IFLR1000 2020

All ten SEE Legal member firms are highly ranked individually in the 2020 edition of the International Financial Law Review 1000. In total 22 Tier 1 ratings were received by the ten members of the Group, including the following areas of law Financial and corporate, Project development, Banking and finance, M&A, Capital markets, Capital markets: Debt, and Capital markets: Equity.

SEE Legal Energy & Renewables, Utilities & Natural Resources Practice Group at the Vienna Forum on European Energy Law

The SEE Legal energy partners, Armela Lippmann (Maric & Co), Alexander Chatalbashev (BOYANOV & Co.) and Dragoljub Cibulic (BDK Advokati) attended the 7th Vienna Forum on European Energy Law, organised by the Energy Community on 19-20 September 2019 in Vienna.

SEE Legal Banking and Finance Practice Group Visited Frankfurt

Twelve SEE Legal banking and finance partners representing the 10 law firms and 12 SEE jurisdictions attended meetings with colleagues of some of the largest international and local German law firms on 17-19 September 2019 in Frankfurt.

KG Law Firm on EU Geo-blocking Regulation

KG Law Firm’s counsel, Dr. Victoria Mertikopoulou, authored an article on the EU Geo-Blocking Regulation, published in the Greek Law Digest. This article analyses the EU Geo-Blocking Regulation and the ensuing prohibition of Online Sales Discrimination practices, based on customers' nationality, place of residence or of establishment. Prohibiting geo-blocking is one of the pillars of the EU Digital Single Market Strategy. Businesses trading online should comply accordingly. The publication examines the object, scope, main obligations, aspects of non-discrimination related to payment means, passive sales, as well as the e-commerce sector inquiry of the European Commission (2015) and the issuing of a relevant Ministerial Decision in Greece which designates competent enforcement bodies.

Kyriakides Georgopoulos Law Firm on Overview on Cross-border Service Provisions

KG Law Firm’s partner, Effie Mitsopoulou and junior associate, Ioanna Chanoumi authored the Greek chapter in the Overview on Cross-border Service Provisions that was prepared by the European Member Firms of the Employment Law Alliance. The team participated in an overview of reporting and retention requirements, as well as other important information in connection with cross-border personnel deployment in Europe.

New Rules on Foreign Direct Investment: A Balanced Approach or a Step towards the Halt of the Foreign Investments?

KG Law Firm’s partner, Evangelia Dimitropoulou analyses the new EU rules on Foreign Direct Investment and their application by the member states within the EU. Further to long discussions amongst the EU officials to address the concerns that third (non-EU) countries are taking advantage of the openness of the European Union field to promote their industrial policy interests, the European Parliament and the Council have adopted the Regulation no 2019/452 on 21 March 2019 with the aim to establish a legal framework to curb foreign investments in sensitive areas. Although the screening measures shall apply uniformly to all foreign investments, it is common knowledge that the main target of the measures is to halt the prominent position of the Chinese investments in the European Union, which has stand out in terms of number of recent acquisitions over the last year, as highlighted by the Commission Staff Working Paper that has been prepared on September 13, 2018.

CNIL’s Primer on Video Surveillance at Work: Uniontrad Company Decision

On 18 June 2019, the French data protection supervisory authority (“CNIL”) issued a decision on video surveillance at work. The Uniontrad Company case demonstrates that a law specifically regulating the processing of images is not an indispensable prerequisite for reaching a decision. Instead, CNIL relied on the general GDPR rules on proportionality, fair notices, and security of processing. That does not mean that every detail of the video surveillance legal regime obviously flows from the general data protection rules. For example, data protection authorities may differ as regards the format of a data processing notice. But the fundamental rules governing video surveillance at work are clear, even in the absence of a specific regulation.

Link Mobility Group AS (Norway) Signed an Agreement to Buy Five of Allterco’s Telecom Subsidiaries

On 29 June 2019 Bulgaria's Allterco has signed an agreement to sell five of its telecommunications subsidiaries to Norway's LINK Mobility Group for an indicative price of EUR 7.9 million. The final price will be determined on a cash-free/debt-free basis after correction of the companies' preliminary financial statements. The deal concerns Allterco's units in Bulgaria - Teravoice, Tera Communications and Allterpay, as well as its Romania-based subsidiary Teracomm RO and North Macedonia-based Tera Communications DOOEL. Upon completion of the transaction, Allterco will receive 60% of the price in cash. A further 20% will be paid on a deferred basis within two years, while the remaining 20% will be paid by transferring rights for purchase of shares in Victory Partners VIII Norway Holding - the sole owner of LINK Mobility Group. With this deal, Allterco is divesting its entire telecommunications portfolio and will focus on its IoT subsidiaries.

SEE Legal at INTA’s Annual Meeting in Boston

During 18-22 May, the IP Partners Anisa Tomic and Stela Sabeva attended the INTA’s Annual Meeting in Boston - the largest yearly conference for trademark practitioners. As part of their visit and on behalf of the SEE Legal Group, the IP partners hosted a number of meetings with representatives of various law firms that carry substantial weight in the IP world. The meetings were focused on discussing the integrated IP related services offered by SEE Legal and on developing new relationships to expand SEE Legal’s network of colleagues and clients. The SEE Legal partners would like to thank all colleagues who joined the Group at Yotel Boston and look forward to seeing them on another occasion in the near future.

The Google Cases Sequel of the European Commission

Kyriakides Georgopoulos Law Firm analysed the reasons for the European Commission to fine Google a total of EUR 8.25 billion for abuse of dominant position in the respective Google shopping, Google Android and Google AdSense (online advertising) cases.