Vlatko Sekulović, lawyer, Sekulović Law Firm: It is demanding, but also inspiring to work with Italians

Italian entrepreneurs are inventive and excel in solving unforeseen problems.

The Sekulović Law Firm was founded in 1991 and over time has become one of the leading law firms in the segment of commercial law. The firm is mainly engaged in developing strategies for potential foreign investors in terms of entering new markets. We talked with the lawyer Vlatko Sekulović about the firm’s cooperation with the Italian business community.

Vlatko Sekulović, lawyer at the Sekulović Law Firm

What is your experience working with Italian companies?

We have been cooperating with companies from Italy for more than 30 years. We have had different experiences, yet the positive ones dominate. Italian entrepreneurs are inventive and excel in solving unforeseen problems. When faced with an unforeseen problem, they find a solution very quickly. In that sense, it is very demanding but also inspiring to cooperate with the Italians. Italian business people often expect to see a legal environment that is significantly different from the one in which their parent companies operate, and they are pleasantly surprised to see that the basic postulates of corporate law are also applied in Serbian law.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of the Serbian environment for doing business?

Apart from a simpler tax system, the advantage is certainly the speed and procedure relating to company registration, as well as the efficiency of our banking system. On the other hand, in terms of law enforcement, we have to improve the business environment from the point of view of equating creditors from abroad with domestic ones in terms of measures available to them to protect their claims, and above all, we need to apply those measures.

A lot has been done in the past 20 years in terms of creating an attractive business environment”

The implementation of certain legal protection instruments depends on a foreign creditor being registered in the domestic tax and banking system, which makes it difficult and discouraging for creditors to seek the protection of their rights due to systems that they perceive as unnecessarily complicated. They get the impression that they cannot protect their rights even though that does not correspond to the legal situation in practice. In Italy the main obstacles to attract foreign, and thus Serbian, investors is a complicated tax system and complex corporate governance rules. These are the main obstacles that foreign investors in Italy have to overcome.

What legal regulations and laws have to be improved to facilitate the arrival of more foreign investments in our country, especially Italian ones?

Serbia is not a transition novice. A lot has been done in the past 20 years in terms of creating an attractive business environment. We cannot ignore the fact that numerous legal reforms, especially relating to commercial law, laws regulating enforcement and security and civil procedural law, have led to the harmonization of the Serbian normative system with European standards. However, much remains to be done regarding foreign exchange operations, which still suffer from recidivism from the socialist period, or in the field of law enforcement and courts specializing in certain areas such as determining the responsibility of taxpayers. There are branches of law that require highly specialized judges, and in that sense, if specialized departments in the commercial court system could work independently that would improve the efficiency of the judiciary in protecting the rights of companies and shortening the time needed to solve cases.

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