Cross-Border Practice in the EU - Highlights 2017
Olga Gutovska, Managing Partner of Gutovska & Partners, shares a brief insight of cross-border legal practice in the EU of 2017.
While in London most busy people already came back from islands, and massively went shopping, I didn't have much fun today. Promised myself not to work, but afternoon walk with friends was cancelled because of -- guess what -- rain, restaurants and streets are totally packed with simply terrible crowds, going out of an island in the end of the day wasn't an option, and fox hunting's banned in the U.K. since 2004, so voila. You magically received a chance to read of what I think about how 2017 has shaped global cross-border M&A practice, and how the practice reacted back. Everything below is purely my opinion, which might differ from any official ones, and is aimed purely to entertain my dear colleagues and clients, who might also suffer Christmas festive boredom, and should not be seen as a direct advice in any circumstances.
Highlights of Private Client Practice in the EU, 2017
Not much have changed in Switzerland, with withholding tax changes probably the most interesting thing happened. As the amended procedure allowed retrospective application, we were able to claim back the paid 35% of tax on dividends for many clients back. In France some provisions of Energy Transition for Green Growth act came into force this year at last, and Gutovska & Partners not only advised in renewables, but had an interesting investment structuring for paper recycling -- the new law prohibited plastic bags for average consumer completely, also made all businesses to report carbons emissions and gave instead a set of incentives to promote usage of various recycled materials. Our clients had some headache with implementing obligatory environmental policies, but not too much to justify any complaints. Personally, I am not sure if they actually calculated the cost before applying -- it's extremely (!) expensive -- but the whole project of making the country plastic-free and totally renewables-based is truly admirable.
I have implicitly explored the free zones environment in Poland and was pleasantly surprised. I do like UAE and Hong Kong free zones a lot, mostly for their business-oriented approach and mobility, but special zones in Poland and its Polish Trade and Investment Agency occurred to be same great and professional, try it. Also the government is still able to give not only loans, but grants for R&D, which, I believe, would be a terrible mistake not to use if possible. Estonia became even more popular in IT and finance and keeps my personal "winner" badge for services-cored business, while Poland, due to prolongation of special regimes in free economic zones and R&D grants, remained one of the best for Eastern-European-customer production facilities. Despite the usual thing with investments in European Union -- predictability, gave a small crack with Catalonia this year, but still the reputation of the jurisdiction was a stable predominant attracting people in real estate, entertainment, production and machinery. Our clients invested in existing businesses and built from scratch, mostly with no extra headache. In general the cross-border M&A and JV practice was affected by global preparation for Brexit, MiFID ii and GDPR.