Differences dissolved – the diminishing divide between local and global firms in CEE
The differences are dissolving. When the Berlin Wall fell, Europe's western and eastern halves barely knew each other and doing business across this divide was problematic. Today, eastern Europe's EU members have relatively harmonised legal systems and so offer a fairly predictable working environment. This marks them out from Russia and Ukraine, where English law is often preferred for governing contracts because of a lack of confidence in local systems. But even there, the ways of doing business are becoming more 'normal' for foreign lawyers and clients. Recession hit this part of Europe, although, with lower debt levels than Western Europe, it has recovered – if from a low base – somewhat more rapidly.
As Europe’s legal systems become increasingly harmonised, distinctions between East and West and local and international firms are blurring. Mark Smulian reports
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