Newsroom / News / Media / Info Magazine LGP NEWS 02/2021

Info Magazine LGP NEWS 02/2021

Info Magazine LGP NEWS 02/2021

Law as an instrument of change

The legal system, one could almost say by its very nature, lags behind social development. Very rarely, and if so, only with extraordinary effort, is it able to make a small contribution to steering social developments in the desired direction. We lawyers are used to applying existing law in our daily work and not lobbying for visions of socio-political developments, no matter what kind. Applying existing law is something not only we as lawyers have learned, but also those working in all other legal professions, above all the judiciary. 

Only very rarely, therefore, do legal practitioners - meaning not only lawyers but also the judiciary and the legislature - become architects of socio-political drafts or even effective drivers of profound change. Philosophers are responsible for that, politicians who work on a global level, and - admittedly - every now and then an issue of far-reaching significance reaches the “subordinate” level of legal implementation. 

In the case of the fight against global warming and environmental pollution - problem areas in which global processes need to be steered - committed lawyers, on the other hand, also try to direct this development with the means of the law. This is what happened with the Paris Agreement on climate protection, and also with the landmark decision of the German Federal Constitutional Court in March of this year, which obliged the German legislature to be more concrete and, above all, more ambitious in setting domestic greenhouse gas reduction targets. This has also happened occasionally in other countries, in the sporadic attempts of individual courts to breathe “civil law air” into the international law provisions of the Paris Agreement. Last but not least, the legal instruments created by the EU Commission in June to implement the goals agreed in the European Climate Change Act - first and foremost a reduction of net greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55 percent by 2030 compared to 1990 levels - open up new possibilities in this respect for an active role of lawyers in shaping our future and securing a world worth living in. 

In our understanding, legal practitioners are (also) there to advance social developments that are recognised as urgently needed with all the professional means at their disposal - even if only with publications in which we strive to inform and thereby perhaps also help shape them a little. We hope and are actively working to ensure that the measures that have long been evidently necessary to curb the climate crisis are tackled with the urgency they deserve.

Last but not least, and on a different matter, it gives me great pleasure to introduce two new name partners on behalf of all LGP partners, lawyers and staff: in addition to Gerald Ganzger and myself, our long-standing partner and head of our Corporate, M&A and Capital Markets as well as Blockchain & Cryptocurrencies teams, Ronald Frankl, and the barrister, auditor, tax and finance law expert, court expert and friend of the firm Philip Goeth have been registered as name partners as of September this year. 

We wish you, our friends and clients, an exciting and informative read. 

Dr Gabriel LanskyAttorney-at-Law and Managing Partner

Green energy funding at a glance

As part of the Green Deal, the European Union and its Member States are providing a wide range of subsidies for sustainable energy. In the following, we will briefly discuss key aspects of the European Union’s support system and then list some of the Union’s own as well as state funding opportunities. 

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Emissions trading supports climate neutrality

The European Union is increasingly obliged to act in the face of advancing climate change. Through setting a sustainable, annually decreasing maximum emission level for CO2 and other greenhouse gases and facilitating certificate trading, the EU has created an incentive to reduce emissions where it is economically most advantageous. 

The Renewable Energy Expansion Act (EAG): Back to the Future!

After a long period of political tug-of-war, the two-thirds majority required to pass the Federal Act concerned with the expansion of energy from renewable sources (EAG) – was finally found in Parliament on 7 July 2021. This is the first important step to a significant reduction of carbon dioxide emissions in Austria, which is unavoidable if the impending climate catastrophe is to be countered effectively. 

The European ‘Green Deal’ for the Western Balkans

The ‘Green Agenda for the Western Balkans’, the goal of the EU states to become climate neutral by 2050 was extended to the six accession candidates in South-Eastern Europe. 

Green Energy in China: Facts and Trends

The Chinese government has been making systematic efforts towards greater sustainability for several years. Article XXVIII of the 14th Five-Year Plan, which has been in place since 2021, reinforces the goal of CO2 neutrality by 2060 and substantiates the Chinese State Council’s targets for the economy. Meanwhile China’s energy matrix is still dominated by fossil fuels, especially coal. 

Big Solar Energy potential in North Macedonia

According to a recent study on the potential of renewable energy in North Macedonia, the country has an average of 280 days of sunshine per year due to its geographical location and climate, which is a theoretical (physical) potential and provides ideal conditions for the production of solar electricity. The annual average of daily radiation varies between 3.4 KWh/m2 in the northern part of the country and 4.2 KWh/m2 in the southwestern part. 

Green Energy gains importance in Azerbaijan

As a major oil and gas producer, Azerbaijan is primarily associated with oil and gas reserves in the Caspian Sea. However, the country also has great potential in the field of renewable energies. 

Green Energy in Russia

Green energy is continuing to gain importance in Russia. More and more investments are being attracted in renewable and green energy projects. A state support program for renewable energy has currently been prolonged until 2035. 

Electric mobility and other alternatives to combustion engines

The advancement of mobility is an extremely exciting aspect of the current technological revolution. Electric mobility is one of the trends, alongside digitization, self-driving cars, and shared mobility – also in the Slovak Republic. 

New law facilitates access to Austrian citizenship for Nazi victims

LGP is a long-standing champion of the rights of the Jewish community and all victims of Nazi persecution and their descendants. Managing Partner Gabriel Lansky has played a key role in negotiating the Washington Agreement between Austria and the United States concerning the compensation and restitution for victims of National Socialism. 

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Who is liable for the crimes committed by artificial intelligence?

Artificial intelligence (AI) is omnipresent today. We encounter it in the operating theatre in the form of robot surgeons, as autonomous vehicles on the road or in court as a decision-making aid for judges. While AI technologies are developing relentlessly and gaining ever greater practical importance, legislators are lagging behind in the implementation of legal framework conditions.

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Supply chain legislation is on the way in Austria

Several initiatives in Austria are calling for supply chain legislation based on the German model, to ensure that companies supplying European firms comply with human rights regulations and environmental standards. LGP’s Managing Partner Julia Andras spoke about this with Petra Bayr, the spokesperson for global development of the Austrian Social Democratic Party. 

Global minimum tax rate – finally, a fairer approach to tax?

Large, globally active digital corporations make huge profits every year, but they often pay no or very little tax on these profits. The long-awaited solution is now here: the 15% global minimum corporate tax rate adopted on 1 July 2021. The following article gives an initial insight into the upcoming reforms of international tax law. 

Planned obsolescence as a climate killer

In Arthur Miller’s ‘Death of a Salesman’ (1949), Willy Loman complains: “Once in my life I would like to own something outright before it’s broken!” The long term of the instalment agreement is not Willy‘s only problem; but also that the product life-span is intentionally set for a certain period of time: “They time those things. They time them so when you finally paid for them, they’re used up.” 

NFTs Hype or Future?

If you are involved with issues around blockchain, so-called non-fungible tokens (“NFTs”) are currently unavoidable. But what are NFTs in the first place and what needs to be considered from a legal perspective? 

Comprehensive reform of enforcement law – a good move!

As of 1 July 2021, a reformed enforcement law (‘GREX’) will apply to all enforcement actions received by the court after 30 June 2021. This will make it much more difficult to delay insolvency proceedings. 

LGP introduces its new name partner Philip Goeth

LGP is pleased to welcome to the firm its new name partner Univ.-Doz. MMag. Dr. Philip Goeth, LL.M., and to introduce him to our esteemed readers. 

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Name partner Ronald Frankl

Ronald Frankl’s importance in the market and in the law firm have become so significant that he has been appointed name partner of the firm. 

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