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New EU Proposal for a Directive Harmonising Certain Aspects of Insolvency Law (COM(2022) 702 Final))

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Resilience in the face of Adversity – Dubrovnik Congress Report

INSOL Europe's second 'Annual Congress' of the year took place in its usual Autumn slot at the Rixos Hotel in Dubrovnik from 6-9 October with over 360 delegates in attendance, report Myriam Mailly and Paul…

Academic Forum Annual Conference 2022: Insolvency Law in Times of Crisis

The INSOL Europe Academic Forum Annual Conference 2022 on the subject of “Insolvency Law in Times of Crisis” took place on 5-6 October 2022 at the Rixos Premium Hotel in Dubrovnik. Sponsored by…

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Resilience in the face of Adversity – Dubrovnik Congress Report
INSOL Europe's second 'Annual Congress' of the year took place in its usual Autumn slot at the Rixos Hotel in Dubrovnik from 6-9 October with over 360 delegates in attendance, report Myriam Mailly and Paul Omar.

With opening remarks welcoming delegates to Dubrovnik on Friday 6 October 2022, two keynotes in quick succession were delivered by Bojan Fras (Vice-Governor, HR National Bank) on the NPL situation in HR and possible connection between NPL ratios and insolvency in HR. Continuing the theme of precarity, José Garrido (Legal Dept, IMF) spoke on the role of the IMF in maintaining international financial stability and insolvency law as a critical element of robust financial frameworks. Delegates were then taken through four plenary sessions, the first on “Designing the New European Restructuring Plans”, with panellists dissecting issues around a group case study across their jurisdictions, particularly dealing with recognition and enforcement frameworks.

For the breakouts immediately following, the Norwegian Air case, managing risky businesses from the frontline, asset-tracking and recovery in the EECC as well as healthcare industry cases all featured to challenge and inform delegates. The second plenary session on “Recognition of Insolvency(-related) Decisions” picked up the recognition and enforcement theme looking at the dynamic around relevant texts, ranging from the European Insolvency Regulation, Preventive Restructuring Directive and other conventions and model laws of possible application. The third plenary, on “Harmonisation of Transactions Avoidance Law” offered an insight into a Model Law, devised by Reinhard Bork (University of Hamburg DE) and Michael Veder (RESOR; Radboud Nijmegen NL), to address the cross-border situation of transactions avoidance, which might feature in the forthcoming Insolvency III initiative. Ending the first day, the fourth plenary on “Anti-Fraud Forum: The Dangers of Cyber-Attacks” offered a fascinating insight into a contemporary challenge to business operations with notable statistics including the fact 1 in 5 businesses reporting cyber-attacks with an insolvency risk.

Resuming events on Saturday 7 October 2022, delegates were welcomed back to the keynote by Fabris Peruško (CEO, Fortenova) giving some impressive statistics on the case of Agrokor: a EUR 7.8 billion bankruptcy whose debt was equivalent to 15% of Croatia’s GDP. The group was reorganised, though keeping similar trading names, under overall Fortenova umbrella, and today, Agrokor remains the largest regional retailer, beverage group, edible oil producer and meat producer. The fifth plenary session came in two halves, the first featuring Richard Snowden LJ speaking of contemporary developments and changes in “The Restructuring Regime in the UK”, while the second part, titled “To Sanction or not to Sanction, that is the Question” saw contributions from the UK, Croatia and Romania addressing the thorny issue of recognition and enforcement, with public policy, creditor challenges and costs etc. being considerations.

The sixth plenary session on “Hard and Soft Skills” saw contributors talk about the necessity to develop both hard job-specific skills and soft skills including empathy, problem solving, assertiveness and team working through experience and on the job performance. The Seventh Plenary Session on “Energy” addressed the current energy crisis sand the impact on business and consumers. For most, energy dependence was the critical issue with the RU-UA war leading to severe disruption across Europe, even for countries not directly dependent, but who are competing for supplies on the world market. 

Rounding off the day, the final plenary on “Harmonisation of Insolvency Laws in the EU” saw a karaoke Q&A session on progress in harmonisation within the EU with developments canvassed including the progress of transposition of the PRD and key developments in the work of the Experts Group that might be seen in the new Insolvency III initiative. 

Closing remarks were then provided by Frances Coulson (Wedlake Bell UK), Jelenko Lehki (Lehki Law Office HR) and Frank Tschentscher (Deloitte DE). Delegates were bid farewell till the next occasion, whether in May in Vilnius (EECC) or October in Amsterdam (Main and Academic Conferences).

An in-depth report can be downloaded here.
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