With 1 million species facing extinction, the theme of this year’s World Environment Day (WED) is “Celebrate Biodiversity”. Amid the current disruption worldwide following the coronavirus outbreak, there has never been a more important time to focus on environmental protection and, particularly, biodiversity, climate change and sustainable development.

WED is held each year on June 5 and is one of the principal vehicles through which the United Nations stimulates worldwide awareness of environmental protection to enhance political attention and action. WED was established by the UN General Assembly in 1972 on the first day of the Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment, resulting from discussions on the integration of human interactions and the environment. Two years later, in 1974 the first WED was held with the theme "Only One Earth".

Biodiversity has become the governing concept of nature conservation law, regulations, and policy. It concerns species of plants, animals and micro-organisms that surround us, yet it means more than just species diversity. The international Biodiversity Convention 1992 defines biodiversity as “the variability among living organisms from all sources including, inter alia, terrestrial, marine, and other aquatic ecosystems and the ecological complexes of which they are a part; this includes diversity within species, between species and of ecosystems.” Article 3 of the Convention confirms the sovereign rights of states to exploit their own resources pursuant to their local environmental policies, whilst conferring responsibility to ensure that activities within their jurisdiction or control do not cause damage to the environment of other States or of areas beyond the limits of national jurisdiction.

The Cyprus Council of Ministers this week approved a strategy for biodiversity and presented today to mark the WED. The Minister of Agriculture presented the basic principles of the strategy and an action plan, noting “this is a milestone in matters of nature conservation in our country, as Cyprus acquires its own strategy and enters the map of European countries which have strategies for conserving biodiversity.”

Consequently, local efforts toward sustainable management of nature and natural resources in Cyprus are evident, however it remains to be seen how they will be enforced in practice, along with the actions of the competent authorities. The substantial issue of funding remains in order to facilitate implementation of the European Green Deal., a set of policy initiatives by the EU Commission aiming to make Europe climate neutral by 2050.

The Commission has prepared concrete actions that will offer a strong basis for the Green Deal. It is an integral part of the Commission’s strategy to implement the UN 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals. Benefits include zero pollution, affordable and secure energy, smarter transport and high-quality food.

The EU continues to be a leading forerunner in promoting and implementing environment, climate and energy policies. However, it cannot undertake such tremendous task alone and, therefore, cooperation by all Member States, other countries and all relevant stakeholders is imperative.

As the world’s largest single market, the EU can continue to set global standards. Ultimately, we must all work together in the best interest of current and future generations.

RELATED INSIGHTS FROM OUR ENVIRONMENTAL PRACTICE GROUP

OUR ENVIRONMENTAL PRACTICE GROUP

The Environmental Practice Group of our firm advises on a broad variety of local, EU and international environmental and natural resources matters, and supports our clients in compliance with environmental laws and regulations.

Given the background and focus of our founder in environmental and natural resources law, corporate responsibility and sustainability will always remain a priority for the firm. We are committed to respecting the economy, our community and the environment, in the interests of current and future generations.

Our ethics and integrity are vital to preserve our culture, initiatives and principles.

Please find below an outline of the services offered by our Environmental Practice Group.

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any question or require any assistance in such matters.

Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006 concerning the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) and establishment of the European Chemicals Agency aims to ensure a high level of protection of human health and the environment. To do so it promotes alternative methods for assessment of hazards of substances, as well as the free circulation of substances on the internal market, while simultaneously enhancing competitiveness and innovation.

The efficient functioning of the internal market for substances can be achieved only if the respective requirements do not differ significantly from Member State to Member State. In this regard, a high level of human health and environmental protection should be ensured, with the goal of achieving sustainable development. This legislation should be applied in a non-discriminatory manner whether substances are traded on the internal market or internationally in accordance with the Community's international commitments.

REACH lays down provisions on substances and preparations within the meaning of Article 3 thereof. These provisions shall apply to the manufacture, placing on the market or use of such substances on their own, in preparations or in articles and to the placing on the market of preparations. REACH is based on the principle that it is for manufacturers, importers and downstream users to ensure that they manufacture, place on the market or use such substances that do not adversely affect human health or the environment. REACH is underpinned by the precautionary principle.

Importantly, as regards the interpretation and application of REACH, waste as defined in Directive 2006/12/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council is not a substance, preparation or article within the meaning of Article 3 of REACH.

Key definitions for the purposes of REACH:

Substance: means a chemical element and its compounds in the natural state or obtained by any manufacturing process, including any additive necessary to preserve its stability and any impurity deriving from the process used, but excluding any solvent which may be separated without affecting the stability of the substance or changing its composition;

Manufacturing: means production or extraction of substances in the natural state;

Manufacturer: means any natural or legal person established within the Community who manufactures a substance within the Community;

Import: means the physical introduction into the customs territory of the Community;

Importer: means any natural or legal person established within the Community who is responsible for import;

Placing on the market: means supplying or making available, whether in return for payment or free of charge, to a third party. Import shall be deemed to be placing on the market;

Distributor: means any natural or legal person established within the Community, including a retailer, who only stores and places on the market a substance, on its own or in a preparation, for third parties;

Agency: means the European Chemicals Agency as established by this Regulation;

National Process

Moreover, Member States may exceptionally allow for exemptions from REACH in specific cases for certain substances, on their own, in a preparation or in an article; where necessary in the interests of defence.

In Cyprus the Department of Labour Inspection of the Ministry of Labour and Social Insurance is the competent authority of Cyprus for REACH and may grant an exemption according to REACH.

In order to request an exemption, an application should be submitted the Department of Labour Inspection. For the approval of the requested exemption the following procedure applies:

Therefore, third parties such as importers to European Union and manufactures should consider, in cooperation with the Ministry of Defence, during the procurement procedure, any need for request of defence exemptions. Moreover, suppliers will comply with the provisions of the national legislation regarding Occupational Health and Safety, the Chemical Substances legislation and the protection of the environment, throughout the substance/mixture or article life cycle, including disposal.

The EU continues to be a leading forerunner in promoting and implementing environment, climate and energy policies. However, it cannot undertake such tremendous task alone and, therefore, cooperation by all Member States, other countries and all relevant stakeholders is imperative. As the world’s largest single market, the EU can continue to set global standards. Ultimately, we must all work together in the best interest of current and future generations.

RELATED INSIGHTS FROM OUR ENVIRONMENTAL PRACTICE GROUP

OUR ENVIRONMENTAL PRACTICE GROUP

The Environmental Practice Group of our firm advises on a broad variety of local, EU and international environmental and natural resources matters, and supports our clients in compliance with environmental laws and regulations.

Given the background and focus of our founder in environmental and natural resources law, corporate responsibility and sustainability will always remain a priority for the firm. We are committed to respecting the economy, our community and the environment, in the interests of current and future generations.

Our ethics and integrity are vital to preserve our culture, initiatives and principles.

Please find below an outline of the services offered by our Environmental Practice Group.

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any question or require any assistance in such matters.

The mitigation of the issue of non-performing loans (“NPLs”) in the Cypriot banking system is expected to have a positive impact on the resilience of Cyprus Banks. The Sale of Credit Facilities and Related Matters Law N. 86(I)/2018 amending Law No.169(I)/2015 contributes to the deleverage of the NPLs in the Cyprus market.

Key definitions for the purposes of interpretation and application of the Law regulating:

authorisation” shall mean a granted authorisation for acquiring credit facilities by virtue of the provisions of the Law.

‘‘authorised credit institution or ACI’’ shall have the meaning attributed to the term in article 2 of the Business of Credit Institutions Laws

‘‘borrower’’ shall mean a person to whom a credit facility is provided; ‘‘qualifying holding’’ shall mean the direct or indirect holding in the credit acquiring company which represents 10% or more of the capital or of the voting rights of the company or which makes it possible to exercise a significant influence over the management of that company;

‘‘credit acquiring company’’ shall mean a company authorised under this Law to acquire credit facilities;

credit institution” for the purpose of this Law shall mean an ACI and a branch that operates in the Republic by virtue of article 10A of the Business of Credit Institutions Law;

Scope of the Law

The Law applies to credit facilities granted to natural persons where the total balance of the credit facilities to that natural person, at the time of the transfer, for every ACI, does not exceed one million euro (€1.000.000); and (b) credit facilities granted to micro and small enterprises as these are defined in the European Commission Recommendation of 6 May 2003 concerning the definition of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (2003/361/EC) where the total balance of the credit facilities to that enterprise or group of connected enterprises, at the time of the transfer, for every ACI, does not exceed one million euro (€1.000.000). Whereas, credit facilities in excess of the aforesaid limits, will be governed by articles 18 and 19 of the Law.

Sale of Credit Facility

Prior to the selling of whole of part of its credit facilities, a credit or financial institution shall (a) either notify its intention to sell or dispose the whole or part of its portfolio of credit facilities or (b) call the borrower and his guarantors to submit, within a period of forty five days (45), a proposal to purchase his credit facility under sale.

Importantly, any credit facility that is transferred from a credit or financial institution or credit acquiring company, hereafter ‘‘the transferor’’, to the acquirer, is deemed to be transferred to that acquirer at the time of transfer and all rights and obligations arising from the credit facility agreement of the account thus transferred, are automatically transferred to the relationship between the borrower and the acquirer and thereby shall continue to be valid between the borrower and the acquirer.

It is noteworthy that such transfer does not affect any procedure in progress pursuant the provisions of The Insolvency Individuals (Personal Plans Repayment and Debt Waiver Order) Law, or Part IVA of the Companies’ Law nor does it affect any results pursuant to the implementation of provisions these laws. However, nor does such transfer affect the right of the borrower to submit an application for Insolvency Settlement under the Insolvency Individuals (Personal Plans Repayment and Debt Waiver Order) Law or the right of the borrower or other person to appoint an examiner pursuant to Part IVA of the Companies Law.

As regards obligations of the transferor, the transferor is obliged to submit, every six (6) months, to the Central Bank of Cyprus a report which is publicised and which includes: (i) data on the number and amount of credit facilities, by category, that have been sold to any legal person, and (ii) data on the number and amount of credit facilities, by category, that have been purchased by the borrower.

Notifications by acquirer to borrowers and guarantors

Each credit or financial institution or credit acquiring company shall inform the borrower, the latest within five working days from the acquisition, that the credit facility agreement and related collaterals have been transferred to another person. Each credit acquiring company shall provide the borrower with all relevant contact details of the persons responsible for the handling of the credit facilities transferred thereto and of the new account numbers.

Administrative fines

If a legal person contravenes or fails to comply with this Law, or with the conditions of authorization issued by virtue of this Law or with any Directive of the Central Bank by virtue to this Law, the Governor of the Central Bank may, after calling to account the legal person, the consultants or directors, as appropriate,- (a) impose on that legal person, for every infringement an administrative fine up to the amount of two hundred and fifty thousand euro (€250.000) depending on the seriousness of the offense and, if the infringement is continued or repeated and the legal person or director or manager refuses or fails to comply, may impose a fine of one hundred euro (€100) and up to thirty thousand euro (€30.000) for each day the contravention continues, and/or (b) suspend or revoke the licence of that legal person by providing a fully reasoned decision.

Cyprus

Cyprus has long been a fundamental, geostrategic location as the third largest island in the Mediterranean crossroads of Europe, Asia and Africa. Organisations ranging from private or family businesses, startups and multinationals have established headquarters in Cyprus. As a member of the European Union since 2004 and the Eurozone in 2008, Cyprus enhanced its role as robust and reliable destination for key players in various industries and sectors. The professional services industry evolved to cater for businesses of local and international clients, in line with the risks of the Digital Age and the challenges of globalisation.

The Cyprus market will no doubt bounce back strong again. However, it is still too soon to speculate an accurate timeline of recovery given the existing uncertainty swift developments locally and internationally in response to the Covid-19 disease.

OUR FINANCE PRACTICE GROUP

The Finance Practice Group of our firm advises on local and cross-border, secured and unsecured financing and refinancing transactions.

Our forward-thinking professionals swiftly derive our clients’ requirements and design strategic initiatives that can be implemented to give them a competitive edge. We do so by combining our technical skills and commercial awareness to provide innovative, customised solutions.

We undertake negotiation and implementation of all relevant processes.

Please find below an outline of the services offered by our Finance Practice Group.

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any question or require any assistance in such matters.

We are delighted to participate with Tecvault Ltd in a webinar for Members of PSEAD and to discuss the impact of the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the insurance industry.

This presentation is offered on a complimentary basis only to Members of PSEAD, with the purpose of raising awareness as to the obligations and ways of compliance for insurance agents, sub-agents and consultants in relation to the GDPR.

The structure of the presentation will be straightforward, short and specific. It will provide stakeholders with the necessary knowledge to understand the status of their organisation in relation to the GDPR and what their next steps should be.

For instance, according to an announcement of the Cyprus Data Protection Commissioner, and pursuant to findings of an administrative audit concerning the insurance sector, the following matters require development and assessment:

  1. Inclusion in Data Registries of the information stipulated in section 30(1) of the GDPR;
  2. Review of the information included in the Data Protection Impact Assessment (DPIA), in order to also receive information for the rationale leading to the conclusions of the initial assessment;
  3. Amendment of existing Agreements with data processors, in order for, amongst other things, determine the security measures maintained by data processors proportionally to the risk involved in the processing and nature of data requiring protection;
  4. Review of existing security Policy for physical files, in order for, amongst other things, include matters such as management of security incidents, process of erasure or destruction of data, security of communication and consequences of non-authorised access of users;
  5. Review of Documents provided to the public (clients and potential clients) in order to comply with the Recommendations of the Office of the Commissioner for Data Protection;
  6. Establishment of procedures (a) informing data subjects of their rights which can be exercised and (b) process of exercising such rights; and
  7. Review of system security measures.

Assessment and Compliance

We understand that the extraordinary circumstances have affected us all on a personal and professional level. Nonetheless this will pass, and we must be prepared for the next day. Many members have already received in order to sign or have already signed the relevant data protection agreement with the corresponding insurance companies, whereby it is agreed to comply with the provisions of the GDPR and applicable national legislation, and to apply the appropriate technical and organisational measures for processing personal information. Therefore, it is necessary for the members to undertake the respective evaluation towards compliance with the GDPR and their commitments with insurance companies.

Participation and Communication

Having first in mind the safety of our colleagues and clients alike as well as the public at large, our team continues to provide exceptional services with client focus, in relation to assessment and implementation advice under the GDPR and applicable national legislation.

Do rest assured that we remain well-positioned to assist you from start to finish with your data protection and privacy compliance, during good and bad times.

If you are a member of PSEAD interested to participate in the webinar, please click the following link to complete your details in accordance with our Privacy Policy.

Click here to submit your details and participate in the webinar:  https://bit.ly/3bHhDxo

RELATED INSIGHTS FROM OUR DATA PROTECTION PRACTICE GROUP

OUR DATA PROTECTION PRACTICE GROUP

Our firm helps SMEs and large organisations in a wide range of sectors to comply with the GDPR and national legislation.

Our associates Tecvault Ltd focus on technology and cybersecurity aspects to cover all angles of the necessary exercises, in line with the rapid shifts in technological disruption.

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you require further information or support on such matters.Data Protection Law Firm of the Year in Cyprus: 2020 Global Law Experts 11th Annual Awards

The Cyprus government has been put on a pedestal and has been praised globally for having dealt with preventing the spread of the coronavirus outbreak in a timely, sensible and effective manner. Having already entered the first phase of easing the measures and witnessing one of the lowest numbers in cases worldwide, the government is working towards a mellow return to normal life, however staying alert.

Cyprus‘ government is now suggesting the voluntary use of a mobile phone app called COVTRACER, which has been designed to locate people who have come in contact with individuals tested positive to Covid-19. The app will allow people who have tested positive to the virus to share the information with public health authorities, which would then in turn utilize the data to trace anyone who may have been in close proximity to an infected individual. 

As announced by the Deputy Ministry of Research, Innovation and Digital Policy, the COVTRACER app was developed in partnership with a government funded research centre and it uses GPS data to track an individual’s daily movements. This data is then stored into the device’s log file, which can then be shared with health authorities if tested positive to Covid-19. It has been clarified that the use of the app is strictly voluntary and only the device owners can share any data.

The Ministry mentioned that Cyprus would back a coordinated European approach in terms of tracing apps that may improve the management of Covid-19 across the globe and in turn lift any travel restrictions.

Covid-19 and Data Protection

We are already witnessing an unprecedented processing of different types of personal data including sensitive data by public authorities and private organisations due to the coronavirus outbreak.

It is noteworthy that normally under GDPR consent would be required for the purpose of processing sensitive data, however exceptions are provided. Data controllers and processors must ensure the protection of the personal information of the data subjects.

GDPR

The EU General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”) substantially changed data privacy rules. By now organisations in the EU or organisations outside the EU which process personal data of EU residents should be in a position to demonstrate that they fulfill the necessary requirements for compliance.

Key issues and practical considerations arise which impact the majority of organisations and address gaps in compliance. For instance, organisations should assess any non-EU entities that process personal data of EU residents, third party processors, determine their “main establishment” if they have establishments in more than one EU Member State and implement effective internal systems, safety controls and technical measures that comply with the GDPR, as well as a privacy policy.

“Personal Information” means any information that can be used to identify an individual or that we can connect to a person. Such Personal Information does not consist of anonymous data.

European Data Protection Board Statement

On 19 March 2020 the European Data Protection Board adopted its statement on the processing of personal data in the context of the Covid-19 outbreak.

Of course the competent regulatory authority plays a crucial role in implementation and enforcement of the GDPR and corresponding national legislation as well as respective guidelines, and should be consulted as appropriate.

RELATED INSIGHTS FROM OUR DATA PROTECTION PRACTICE GROUP

OUR DATA PROTECTION PRACTICE GROUP

Our firm helps SMEs and large organisations in a wide range of sectors to comply with the GDPR and national legislation.

Our associates focus on technology and cybersecurity aspects to cover all angles of the necessary exercises, in line with the rapid shifts in technological disruption.

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you require further information or support on such matters.

Data Protection Law Firm of the Year in Cyprus: 2020 Global Law Experts 11th Annual Awards

Kyriacos Kourtellos has been selected as the winner in the category Private Client Lawyer of the Year in Cyprus at the Leaders-in-Law 2020 Global Awards.

Leaders-in-Law is a general counsel network allowing people to find a lawyer or expert anywhere in the world, specialising in the area of expertise with which they need legal assistance or advice. Very few people have knowledge of lawyers and experts they can trust around the globe, but Leaders-in-Law has put together a platform of over 1500 lawyers, across 130 jurisdictions, specialising in 56 different practice areas. The diligent selection process of Leaders-in-Law is rigorous in order for clients to rest assured that they will find the right lawyer to meet their personal or professional requirements.

These prestigious Leaders-in-Law 2020 Global Awards have been presented to all selected winners in recognition of both their excellent service and expertise in their field.

Leaders-in-Law undertook detailed research using its independent team to enable it to create a shortlist of up to 5 potential winners in each category. The shortlisted parties have been carefully scruitinised, based on service range, service type, geographical location, how the business operates and the expertise of each lawyer or firm offered to clients.

Awards Live: https://www.leaders-in-law.com/awards/

The Private Client Practice Group of our firm advises affluent individuals, family offices, C-suite executives and investors on a variety of matters with personalised solutions.

With our broad array of expertise, we identify and execute high-priority projects across all levels. Driven by our passion for delivering quality and results as well as building and maintaining exceptional relationships, we give immaculate attention to detail and offer unparalleled legal services to our clients.

We formulate and implement the most strategic, sustainable initiatives to protect their wealth through sustainable solutions. For instance, Cyprus trusts have consistently proven their strength as formidable tools in foreign, high-profile litigation proceedings, whereby the relevant rulings recognised the validity of the Cyprus trust.

Cyprus provides a competitive edge to a legal or natural person that wants to create an efficient and effective vehicle by transferring property to another. Cyprus trusts are formed for various purposes, including family succession and heirship planning, estate and asset protection, commercial transactions, employee incentive schemes, investment and charitable purposes.

Please find below an outline of the services offered by our Private Client Practice Group.

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any question or require any assistance in such matters.

Entrepreneurs, HNWIs, c-suite executives and family offices must set an overall sustainable wealth preservation and asset protection strategy to combat the effects of the virus. Cyprus provides a competitive edge to a legal or natural person that wants to create an efficient and effective vehicle by transferring property to another for various purposes, including family succession and heirship planning, estate and asset protection, commercial transactions, employee incentive schemes, investment and charitable purposes.

Cyprus International Trust

Cyprus International Trusts are based on principles of equity and, in particular, that ownership of property may be separated into legal and beneficial ownership. Hence, a Trustee undertakes the role of the registered owner of the relevant property. Whereas, the beneficial interest of such property lies with a specified person(s) as Beneficiary(ies), who may also be the Settlor. Furthermore, a Protector of the trust may be appointed to whom authority is granted subject to the trust instrument, including to advise the Trustee as regards exercise of its authorities.

Cyprus Trust Framework

The Cyprus trust statutory framework consists of the Trustees Law CAP. 193 which is mainly based on the English Trustees Act of 1925 and the International Trusts Law of 1992, as amended. The Law defines an international trust as a trust of which (a) the Settlor is not a resident of Cyprus during the year preceding the year of creation of the trust; (b) one of the trustees throughout the duration of the trust is a resident of Cyprus; and (c) none of the beneficiaries, subject to certain exceptions, is a resident of Cyprus during the year preceding the year of creation of the trust.

Trust Formation

Moreover, to establish a valid Cyprus trust the three certainties of (i) intention; (ii) subject matter; and (iii) objects must be fulfilled. The applicable procedure to create a Cyprus trust is relatively swift and straightforward, subject always to the particular circumstances of each case.

Cyprus Legal System

The Cyprus legal system is largely based on English common law principles. This provides comfort through familiarity to international executives who conduct local or cross-border business through Cyprus. Cyprus law and regulations are formula ted to facilitate compliant transactions of businesses smoothly.

National Tax Framework

The national tax framework and incentives as well as international or bilateral treaties with countries worldwide remain useful business structuring tools. Cyprus has 12.5% corporate tax rate, limitless tax structuring opportunities and contemporary banking infrastructure.

EU and Eurozone Member

As a member of the European Union since 2004 and the Eurozone in 2008, Cyprus enhanced its role as robust and reliable destination for key players in various industries and sectors. The professional services industry evolved to cater for businesses of local and international clients, in line with the risks of the Digital Age and the challenges of globalisation. Cyprus is rapidly growing and enhancing its reputation as a reliable financial and capital management centre.

Cyprus Headquarters

Cyprus has long been a fundamental, geostrategic location as the third largest island in the Mediterranean crossroads of Europe, Asia and Africa. It is well-regarded for its abundance of sun, exquisite hospitality and a growing, innovative business community.

Organisations ranging from private or family businesses, startups and multinationals establish headquarters in Cyprus. Cyprus offers quality, safety, education and culture. These benefits constitute the building blocks for a healthy and prosperous life of individuals and their families.

RELATED INSIGHTS FROM OUR PRIVATE CLIENT PRACTICE GROUP

OUR PRIVATE CLIENT PRACTICE GROUP

The Private Client Practice Group of our firm advises affluent individuals, family offices, C-suite executives and investors on a variety of matters with personalised solutions.

With our broad array of expertise, we identify and execute high-priority projects across all levels. Driven by our passion for delivering quality and results as well as building and maintaining exceptional relationships, we give immaculate attention to detail and offer unparalleled legal services to our clients.

We formulate and implement the most strategic, sustainable initiatives to protect their wealth through sustainable solutions. For instance, Cyprus trusts have consistently proven their strength as formidable tools in foreign, high-profile litigation proceedings, whereby the relevant rulings recognised the validity of the Cyprus trust.

Please find below an outline of the services offered by our Private Client Practice Group.

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any question or require any assistance in such matters.

Global climate change has already had evident, detrimental effects on the environment. Recent years have witnessed shrinking glaciers, rising sea levels, rising maximum and minimum temperatures, which all have indirect consequences to the environment, wildlife, habitats and us humans. While the world is struggling to contain the spread of the coronavirus, most economic activities that rely on fossil fuels have come to a halt, leading to noticeable reductions in air pollution.

Air Pollution

Satellite images showing a dramatic plunge in air pollution all around the globe have circulated broadly across social media platforms, offering a silver lining to an otherwise dark period. Nevertheless, these images of hope are also a reminder of the climate crisis that could follow when the pandemic passes. In the initial aftermath of the 2008 Great Recession, global CO2 emissions from fossil fuel burning and cement production decreased by 1.4%, only to rise by 5.9% in 2010. 

What happens over the coming months could go one of two ways. According to the International Energy Agency, CO2 emissions are predicted to decrease by 8% in 2020, seven times more than the decline in 2008, with an expected 6% drop in energy demand. This crisis may well be a turning point for the adoption of renewable energy.

Unless the world works together to support a resilient recovery, once the lockdowns are lifted and life adapts to the new norm, so will the smog that hides the skies and with it the greenhouse gases that fuel global warming. In fact, it is possible that the rebound could have an even more devastating effect to the environment and human health.

Climate Law

On 4 March 2020 the European Commission submitted the proposal for the Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing the framework for achieving climate neutrality and amending Regulation (EU) 2018/1999 (“Climate Law”).

The Climate Law stipulates the goal set in the European Green Deal, a set of policies recently announced by Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, for Europe’s economy and society to become climate-neutral by 2050. In other words, EU member states as a whole would need to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions, primarily through reduction of emissions, investment in green technologies and environmental protection.

EU Green Deal

On 11 December 2019 the European Commission communicated the European Green Deal (“Green Deal”) for the EU and its citizens that aims to reset the Commission’s commitment to tackling  climate and environmental-related challenges, toward sustainable and inclusive growth.

The Commission has prepared concrete actions that will offer a strong basis for the Green Deal. It is an integral part of the Commission’s strategy to implement the UN 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals. Benefits include zero pollution, affordable and secure energy, smarter transport and high-quality food.

The EU continues to be a leading forerunner in promoting and implementing environment, climate and energy policies. However, it cannot undertake such tremendous task alone and, therefore, cooperation by all Member States, other countries and all relevant stakeholders is imperative. As the world’s largest single market, the EU can continue to set global standards. Ultimately, we must all work together in the best interest of current and future generations.

RELATED INSIGHTS FROM OUR ENVIRONMENTAL PRACTICE GROUP

OUR ENVIRONMENTAL PRACTICE GROUP

The Environmental Practice Group of our firm advises on a broad variety of local, EU and international environmental and natural resources matters, and supports our clients in compliance with environmental laws and regulations.

Given the background and focus of our founder in environmental and natural resources law, corporate responsibility and sustainability will always remain a priority for the firm. We are committed to respecting the economy, our community and the environment, in the interests of current and future generations.

Our ethics and integrity are vital to preserve our culture, initiatives and principles.

Please find below an outline of the services offered by our Environmental Practice Group.

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any question or require any assistance in such matters.

Recent years have witnessed a skyrocketing demand of high-priced properties introduced to the Cyprus real estate market, predominantly consequent to the Cyprus Investment Programme. The Cyprus business hub and coastal city of Limassol has seen a steep rise in the construction of high-rise buildings, residential and commercial property, with the industry being primarily supported by foreign investment and demand.

Current and forthcoming challenges

Given the rapid outbreak of the coronavirus outbreak and the new reality that finds the island still on lockdown, the real estate market and construction sector has also taken a pause and decrease in activity.

President Nicos Anastasiades announced on 29 April 2020 the blueprint for easing the lockdown. Daily outings have been increased to three, and civil servants are returning to work. The construction sector will start operations.

Taking into consideration that the property sector has been experiencing a downtrend since the implementation of firmer criteria on the Cyprus Investment Programme in 2019. The already immense volume of existing and upcoming projects available and entering the local market soon with properties also being repossessed by the bank, the industry is currently facing and further expected to face greater challenges.

A downward trend?

While Cyprus has gradually managed to substantially recover from the recession that hit the island 7 years ago, it seems that the Covid-19 pandemic is threatening to steer into a different albeit more complicated recession, thus finding certain potential buyers more reluctant to invest in the same manner into any business, particularly that of real estate.

Developers with a large supply of unsold residential property seem to be seeking for alternative selling options such as office and hotel accommodation, which may more likely be in demand once the market recuperates.

In addition, the recent ESTIA scheme (“Scheme”) was implemented aiming at the protection of the Primary Residency and the mitigation of the issue of non-performing loans (“NPLs”) in the Cypriot banking system. Its implementation is expected to have a positive impact on the resilience of Cyprus Banks by contributing to the deleverage of the NPLs of Cyprus Banks.

It is expected that the local and international real estate and construction market will see a drop in prices. Investors are already thinking twice before investing in foreign markets, local buyers are now limited due the crisis and the demand for Airbnb rentals has decreased, thus pushing towards lower rental values. 

Market recovery

With movement and travel restrictions in place, the value of real estate has been suffering and, if not lifted soon, will continue to do so. Ultimately, it will all depend on when the restrictive measures are eased or lifted, with the new norm in place, and then again it will take time for the market to stand tall and return to any aspect of normality.

Cyprus for business and real estate

Cyprus has long been a fundamental, geostrategic location as the third largest island in the Mediterranean crossroads of Europe, Asia and Africa. Organisations ranging from private or family businesses, startups and multinationals have established headquarters in Cyprus.

As a member of the European Union since 2004 and the Eurozone in 2008, Cyprus enhanced its role as robust and reliable destination for key players in various industries and sectors. The professional services industry evolved to cater for businesses of local and international clients, in line with the risks of the Digital Age and the challenges of globalisation.

The Cyprus real estate and construction market will no doubt bounce back strong again and continue to be a strong element in the Cyprus economy. However, it is still too soon to speculate an accurate timeline of recovery given the existing uncertainty swift developments locally and internationally in response to the Covid-19 disease.

OUR REAL ESTATE PRACTICE GROUP

The Real Estate Practice Group of our firm advises buyers, sellers and developers of residential, commercial and industrial real estate.

We stand by our clients’ side every step of the way, from inception to completion of complex projects, throughout their lifecycle. We advise on domestic and cross-border dispute resolution, business structuring, estate protection, project development and transactional matters.

Our legal, advisory and tax teams seamlessly integrate our broad, deep know-how and capabilities. With our holistic perspective and outstanding capacity to deliver tailor-made solutions that cover all aspects of their unique needs, our clients get ahead of the curve.

Please find below an outline of the services offered by our Real Estate Practice Group.

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any question or require any assistance in such matters.

The rapid spread of the coronavirus has caused devastating humanitarian and economic effects to individuals and businesses in various industries and sectors worldwide. Particularly global shipping and trade have been severely affected. Given that over 90% of international trade was carried by sea, maritime transport remains essential to the world economy.

Further to local and international emergency laws and regulations, including restriction measures at ports and port installations, along with the decrease in demand and growth, a significant effect throughout the shipping industry has been created.

Of course, given the uncertainty involved and lack of foreseeability, it is still not possible to accurately assess the impact of the coronavirus to the global shipping and trading industry.

Health & Safety

By putting people first and emphasizing on public health and security, appropriate measures have also been implemented by domestic and international ports and terminals. It is of utmost importance to ensure that our ports and port installations remain operative and that the shipping industry continues to securely provide the necessary food and goods to everywhere needed.

Needless to stress that the Cyprus ports and port installations comprise of critical infrastructure utilised in support of the country against the coronavirus disease. There is no doubt that the consistent and sustainable operation of ports and terminals is necessary to prevent any shortage in supply of essential supplies for the public.

With public health and safety as a priority, The Cyprus Minister of Transport, Communications and Works, in exercising the powers conferred upon him by article 14 (1) of the Ports Authority Law of 1973 to 2016, issued the “Instructions” regarding the implementation of restrictive measures at ports and port installations in Cyprus to counter the coronavirus pandemic. The restrictive measures have been implemented by the Cyprus Ports Authority as well as contractors, operators and licensed agents for port services and port installations.

Restrictive Measures

Please find below certain restrictive measures implemented.

  1. Disembarkation of passengers and crew or change of crew members of ships/boats of any type, including cruise ships is prohibited both in port and out of port.
  2. Crews of commercial vessels with Cyprus ports registered as their permanent base, having performed international voyages outside territorial waters, and made contact with other ships or ports abroad, are obliged on their return to Cyprus’ ports to strictly comply with the instructions of the Medical and Health Services. Such instructions include self-isolation for a period of 14 days. When such ships perform routes within territorial waters, there will be no limitations, provided the crew members are employed by the same company and on condition that when they service other ships they do not come into contact with their crews.
  3. As regards naval ships, while entry into a port is permitted following a Note Verbale, disembarkation of crew will not be permitted.
  4. As regards UNIFIL i.e. Movement of Members of the UNIFIL Command, which is based on shore installations at Limassol port, is permitted. The crew members of UNIFIL may disembark only to be directly transported to a specific hotel for self-isolation however.
  5. In the case of a medical emergency situation involving a passenger or a crew member on board a vessel, either at anchorage area or in the port, shipping agents representing the vessel carrying the sick passenger/crew member, are allowed, by exemption, to proceed with the appropriate arrangements following coordination and consultation with the Medical and Public Health Services, which will arrange the transfer and the medical treatment of the patient. Such requests may also be submitted through the Search and Rescue Coordination Centre, in coordination with the Medical and Public Health Services.

The full text of the Instructions may be accessed at https://bit.ly/2S8Max9 and

Requests to Cyprus Ports Authority

Importantly, any requests submitted to the Cyprus Ports Authority by way of exception for permission for the movement of citizens with regard to the implementation of the above restrictive measures, will be forwarded by the Cyprus Ports Authority to the Minister of Transport, Communications and Works for review and decision-making.

Cyprus Shipping Industry

Important developments constantly reshape the shipping industry, which ultimately adapts to the new requirements. Particularly given the uncertainty of the future, the relevant players need custom-made, long-term solutions for their commercial operations. Cyprus maintains its leading position in the shipping industry, having the 11th largest fleet globally and the 3rd largest fleet in Europe.

The Cyprus flag adheres to the safety and security standards, and is on the “White List” of the Paris and Tokyo Memoranda of Understanding in relation to effective port State control to eliminate substandard shipping and promote maritime safety, protect the marine environment and safeguard working conditions on board ships. Cyprus also has a substantial input in maritime for a and international organisations, including the International Maritime Organisation, International Labour Organisation and the European Union. Cyprus has long been a fundamental, geostrategic location as the third largest island in the Mediterranean crossroads of Europe, Asia and Africa. Organisations ranging from private or family businesses, startups and multinationals establish headquarters in Cyprus.

The coastal business centre of Limassol is still a well-regarded and long-established ship registration, finance and management centre. It is home to numerous prestigious shipping companies, agents, distributors and managers. Limassol has a long history as a trustworthy hub for shipping business between Europe, Asia and Africa. In fact, Limassol caters for more than 200 companies related to shipping ranging from ship ownership, management, insurance, finance, brokerage, bunkering, chartering and maritime training, amongst others.

With respect to taxation, the favourable EU-approved tonnage tax regime for shipping activities in Cyprus contributes to its appeal as an international maritime centre. In addition, the Cyprus Yacht VAT and leasing scheme applies to pleasure yachts accordingly.

Moreover, the recent amendments to the Cyprus Alternative Investments Funds and the Cyprus Investment Programme regimes give way to investment in shipping activities.

RELATED INSIGHTS FROM OUR SHIPPING PRACTICE GROUP

OUR SHIPPING PRACTICE GROUP

The Shipping Practice Group of our firm advises on the appropriate legal structure and financing vehicle for shipping activities, and all ancillary matters.

Please find below an outline of the services offered by our Shipping Practice Group.

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any question or require any assistance in such matters.

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