NBLO Attends Seventh Conference on Strategic Infrastructure

30 March 2013

The Seventh Conference on Strategic Infrastructure was held on the 29th March at the Sheraton Hotel Sofia. New Balkans attended the event, and this article offers a synopsis of the event and highlights the main legal developments that will affect the sector in the coming year.

The Conference opened with a speech from the President of Bulgaria, Mr Plevneliev, and consisted of seven panels which covered:

  • The Development of the Trans – European Transport Network and priority axes for the territory of Bulgaria. Environmental infrastructure of Bulgaria 2012.
  • The Strategic development of Railway, water and air transport in Bulgaria.
  • Development of the project of expansion of Sofia subway – stages 1, 2 and 3.
  • Development of the road infrastructure of the Trans – European and the basic national transport axes, funded by OP Transport, 2012.
  • Development of major airports and seaports in Bulgaria.
  • Bulgarian water legislation and water policy.
  • Waste management in Bulgaria.

Overall, the picture painted of Bulgarian Infrastructure was an overwhelmingly positive one:  for example, the Road Infrastructure panel focused on  260 km of highway currently under construction. By the end of 2020, an additional 460 of strategic roads are to be finalised. With regards to railway infrastructure, projects to be concluded by 2020 include the modernisation the following railways: Sofia – Plovdiv; Plovdiv – Burgas; Sofia station and Sofia intermodal terminal and Ruse intermodal terminal; the rehabilitation of Ruse- Varna and Mezdra – Gorna Oriahovica; the modernisation of Ruse – Dimitrovgrad and the overall modernisation of railway stations.

Legal Developments: Public-Private Partnerships

An important and persistently occurring theme throughout the conference was a shift towards using public-private partnerships as a means to raise necessary funds in all spheres. At present, the PPP draft legislation in Bulgaria is in Parliament for consideration, but it is predicted that it will come into force by the end of 2012.
The introduction of the new legislation presents a good opportunity for private companies in the sector.

For a detailed analysis of Infrastructure legislation and information on the legal services we offer, please consult our NBLO Infrastructure Note.

Recent work:

NBLO helps Dutch investor win summary judgment in High Court for the sum of GBP 192,000

New Balkans Law Office has acted for Mr Kooter, the individual claimant in legal proceedings recently covered by the British press (e.g., The Evening Standard) and subsequently also in Bulgarian news media (e.g., 24 Chasa).

NBLO has represented Mr Kooter throughout the matter. We assisted with the enforcement of a worldwide freezing order issued by the High Court in London against real estate, bank account and other assets of the defendant situated in Bulgaria. As part of the attempts to preserving assets for enforcing his claim, the claimant also proceeded on the basis of prejudiced against him as a creditor. NBLO additionally acted on various ancillary aspects.

Separately, through one of NBLO’s partners who is dual-qualified as an English barrister, NBLO formed part of Mr Kooter’s UK legal team. In the UK, Mr Kooter won summary judgment for the sum of £192,000, interest and legal costs. The sum awarded was the entire claim by Mr Kooter relating to sums which Ms Radeva had ostensibly offered to invest on his behalf. For a separate part of the claim (approx. €36,000), the High Court was unable to give a summary (effectively, early-stage) judgment on the basis that unlike the investment related claim, the basis of these transfers could not be established without a full investigation of evidence including oral hearings.

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