Marked by recent political shifts, impacted by global trends, and facing many legislative changes, Poland is seeing critical updates on taxation, energy, state companies' leadership, the balance of transactions, and renewed discussions on judicial reform, according to Crido Legal Managing Partner Jakub Ziolek.
"Last year marked a new chapter in Polish politics with a new government," Ziolek begins. "This new government's arrival is pivotal as we're anticipating legislative proposals that will impact the legal sphere. For example, the National System of e-Invoices – which was supposed to be a mandatory system from July 1 this year, announced by the previous government for tax advisory purposes – is likely to be postponed, as per the new minister's suggestion," he explains.
Ziolek reports that "Poland has been witnessing significant trends in technology and ESG, especially in the real estate sector. These trends are global, but they manifest uniquely in Poland due to our specific legal and economic landscape," he adds. "Energy transformation is a key area – the past eight years have seen stringent regulations around onshore wind farms. The new legislation could facilitate faster energy transformations and infrastructure development, significantly impacting the legal landscape," he explains.
Beyond legislative changes, Ziolek shares that he feels Poland to be "at a critical juncture, particularly in strategic sectors like energy and mining. The upcoming election of the management board for Polish state treasury companies suggests significant shifts," he opines. "This will entail reorganization, restructuring, and potentially a strategic shift, leading to substantial legal work."
In addition, he says that the real estate and M&A markets seem to be in a state of flux. "Currently, the European Central Bank's high interest rates are impacting these markets and there's a slowdown in core real estate and M&A transactions. However, this has led to an increase in distressed asset deals, as businesses seek opportunistic investors for refinancing," he adds. "We're seeing the first examples of this trend, and I expect it to continue well into 2024." Following up on these predictions, Ziolek adds that "if the European Central Bank lowers interest rates, we may see a resurgence in core deals. This shift could revitalize the market significantly."
Finally, he shares that there is considerable discussion about judicial reform in Poland. "This is a critical issue; to meet EU rule of law requirements, we expect changes that could unlock EU funds, especially those suspended due to concerns over judicial independence," he says. "The new government will likely introduce legislation impacting civil and criminal procedures, which could bring about structural changes in the judiciary and affect legal practice," Ziolek concludes.