Legal developments in Romania

New Bilateral double taxation treaties with U.A.E., Norway, Italy and Bulgaria ratified by the Romanian Parliament
A series of laws were passed in March by the Romanian Parliament to ratify double taxation treaties concluded with the United Arab Emirates, Norway, Italy and Bulgaria in 2015. The treaties concern income tax, corporate tax and other similar taxes payable by residents of Romania, and of the other signatory states.
The treaties establish who benefits from the same, the fiscal treatment of such persons, and the mechanism under which taxpayers and the countries can settle disputes arising under the treaties.

All four treaties set forth the requirement that the signatory states exchange tax information, while two of the treaties (Romania-Norway and Romania-Bulgaria) provide that the states must assist each other in the collection of taxes.
The Romania-Norway treaty came into force as of March 24th 2016, the Romania-Italy and Romania-Bulgaria treaties as of March 27th 2016, and the Romania-UAE treaty as of March 28th 2016.

New Fire Protection Law postpones the obligation of obtaining fire prevention permits
Law no. 33/2016, which entered into force on March 25th 2016, brought significant changes to the legislation regarding fire protection, thus sanctioning the Emergency Ordinance issued by the Romanian Government in November 2015. The new provisions state that the responsible representatives for buildings operated without fire prevention permits must obtain such permits by December 31st, 2016. This measure was imposed in response to the many requests received by the Inspectorates for Emergency Situations throughout the country in this respect.

However, until the fire prevention permit is obtained, the responsibility for operating the buildings falls on the beneficiaries of the investment, with the exception of a severe violation of fire safety requirements, which will automatically lead to the closing of the location until the deficiencies are resolved.

Changes to the Community trademark system brought about by the EU Regulation no. 2015/2424
On March 23rd, 2016, the EU Regulation no. 2015/2424 entered into force. The Amending Regulation brought several changes to the Community Trademark system.
The Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (OHIM) became the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO), while the Community Trademark became the European Union Trademark.

A European Union trademark is no longer required to have a graphical representation, but an appropriate representation in any appropriate form using generally available technology that is clear, precise, self-contained, easily accessible, intelligible, durable and objective. The Office will provide users with information on the alternative media and formats that are considered to comply with the new provision. Trademarks represented by smells or sounds are expected to be filed, given that a graphical representation is no longer compulsory.

The provisions regarding class headings were changed in accordance with the IP Translator case. It will no longer be possible to simply use class headings to cover all goods and services that fall within that class. Trademarks owners will have to specify the particular goods and services for which registration is sought. The owners of EU trademarks which cover class headings and which were applied for before the 22nd of June 2012 will have a transitional 6 month period for amending the register, i.e. until the 23rd of September 2016.

The new Regulation revises the fees payable to the Office, including an overall reduction in the renewal fees and an adjustment in the application fees. Depending on the number of classes, registration could involve either a minor reduction or an overall increase of fees.

New legislation for the acceleration of Trans-European infrastructure projects
The Romanian government has adopted new legislation (through the Government Emergency Ordinance no. 7/2016) in order to accelerate and facilitate the implementation of infrastructure projects within the Large Infrastructure Operational Program 2014-2020, approved by the European Commission for the interconnectivity of national transport networks with the European networks TEN-T Core and TEN-T Comprehensive ( “TEN-T Projects”).

The new legislation introduces significant amendments with the purpose of simplifying the following main procedures and corresponding laws:

  • Reducing the duration of procedures for the issue of building permits;
  • Simplifying the procedures for the issue of urbanism certificates and other urbanism permits and the extension of their validity period;
  • Facilitating the process of removal of land plots from their designated agricultural use;
  • Assigning the Ministry of Transport with supervisory prerogatives and with the power of applying sanctions.
  • Extension of the Ministry of Transport’s powers to accept demands put forward by contractors in order to cover the necessary works for the implementation of projects and to apply resolutions of the Dispute Adjudication Board.

The amendments have a major impact on the development of road, railway, air, energy and interconnectivity infrastructure projects, which are essential to Romania´s economic growth, as well as being a key element in attracting foreign investment.

New rules concerning the assessment of acquisitions and capital increases with respect to entities regulated by the Financial Supervisory Authority
On April, 5th 2016, the Financial Supervisory Authority (the “FSA”) Regulation no. 3/2016 on the criteria and procedure for the prudential assessment of acquisitions of and capital increases in FSA regulated entities (the “Regulation”) came into force.

The main objectives of the Regulation are to define a clear, uniform and transparent procedure for the prudential assessment of the proposed acquisition of or capital increases in, entities undertaking activity in the insurance, private pensions and capital markets and to update and standardize the applicable framework in accordance with European rules and practices through the application of rules similar to those available in the case of credit institutions.

The Regulation is relevant to significant shareholders and potential investors in investment and investment management companies, managers of alternative trading funds, market operators, central depositories, central counterparties, insurance and reinsurance undertakings and managers of private pension funds.

Stratulat Albulescu - Attorneys at law