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Portrait of Maria Harizanova

Maria Harizanova

Attorney-at-Law

Contact
CMS Sofia
Landmark Centre
14 Tzar Osvoboditel Blvd
1000 Sofia
Bulgaria
Languages Bulgarian, English
Energy & Climate Change

Maria Harizanova is an Attorney-at-law in CMS Sofia, who besides Employment and Data Protection Law, is also experienced in Energy Law. She advises local and international clients from the energy sector on various regulatory matters related to the development and operation of their businesses, construction and licensing of renewable energy plants, permit regimes, renewable energy trends, energy efficiency contracts, etc. Her most recent work has focused on ESG-related issues, such as local environmental issues, pollution and waste, natural resources and climate change.  

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"Dynamic and proactive at every stage of the operation."

Chambers and Partners

Relevant experience

• Advising one of the leading energy services companies on the relevant regulatory framework for energy efficiency contracts and their tax treatment under Bulgarian law.
• Advising the Bulgarian subsidiary of an international energy trader, and the largest producer of renewable energy in Switzerland, in relation to its day-to-day operations.
• As per request of a foreign Bar Association, preparation of the regulatory framework of the renewable sector in Bulgaria with special focus on mitigating climate change, grid-modernization, public private partnerships, prices, fossil fuels and general trends in the sector.
• Drafting a market report for the 4th largest Bank in Bulgaria, related to the renewable energy sector in Bulgaria, including a general market overview on the Energy Sector, RES Market Overview with focus on PVs and Wind PP & RES Trends, Regulatory Development, electricity prices of RES – forecasts and assumptions about min & max range of prices in the short-mid-long term, analysis of a typical CAPEX and OPEX for RES projects, conclusion on Risks and Mitigating factors

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Memberships & Roles

• Bulgarian Bar Association
• New York Bar Association (pending)

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Education

  • 2016 – Master of Laws (LL.M.), International Business Practice concentration, Boston University School of Law
  • 2015 – Master of Laws (LL.M.), Plovdiv University Paisii Hilendarski
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Data Protection Law

Maria Harizanova has a strong expertise in advising clients on data protection issues, employment, and energy law. 

With regards to data protection, Maria delivers expert advice on all data protection and privacy matters. In particular, that includes, advice on dawn raids, interaction with regulators, data breach response, subject access requests, development of standard policies, procedures and documentation, impact assessments, international data transfers, complex contractual drafting and negotiation. She also maintains excellent relationships with local regulators.

Additionally, Maria focuses on employee data protection, including issues such as lawful processing of employee data protection within a company, use of personal employee data, rights and obligations under GDPR, processing of health data, etc.

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"Dynamic and proactive at every stage of the operation."

Chambers and Partners

Relevant experience

• Advising a leading Bulgarian telecommunications company, on its day-to-day operations, including data protection.
• Advising a big governmental organisation on the rights of individuals to seek redress for violations of intelligence laws.
• Advising a global fashion retailer on various data protection matters, including the standardization and alignment with
• Bulgarian law of its data processing agreement; data protection policy regarding the launching of a promotional initiative for children; the preparation of a Booking.com-offer in view of GDPR, as well as the creation of its loyalty programme in terms of compliance with GDPR and applicable security standards.
• Advising the foreign investor on data protection issues with regard to the potential acquisition of debt collection companies.
• Advising the largest Bulgarian Bank on data protection issues with regard to the sale of a corporate non-performing loan (NPL) portfolio.
• Legal support on the GDPR compliance of a local shopping centre and a local business centre. 

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Memberships & Roles

• Bulgarian Bar Association
• New York Bar Association (pending)

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Education

  • 2016 – Master of Laws (LL.M.), International Business Practice concentration, Boston University School of Law
  • 2015 – Master of Laws (LL.M.), Plovdiv University Paisii Hilendarski
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Employment & Pensions

Maria Harizanova is an attorney-at-law with the CMS office in Sofia, Bulgaria, where she co-heads the CMS Sofia Employment law department. She also specializes in Data Protection with a focus on employee Data Protection and Energy Law. Maria received her law degree from the Plovdiv University “Paisii Hilendarski” and obtained an LL.M. in American Law with a focus on business and corporate matters from Boston University.

Maria joined CMS Sofia in 2017, having previously gained experience, during several internships, at law firms abroad (United States and Portugal) as well as at the United Nations Headquarters. She is admitted to the Bulgarian Bar Association and has a pending New York Bar Association admission. Maria speaks Bulgarian and English.

Her main area of expertise is Employment Law, and in this capacity, she advises local and international clients from many sectors on all Employment Law issues, such as works councils’ co-determination rights at national or individual company level, compliance (including remuneration) with national laws and standards, misconduct and discrimination, individual and collective dismissals and severance agreements, the EU's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), new forms of employment and ways of working, employee stock ownership schemes and pension schemes, wage taxes, fringe benefits, social security matters, expat regulations and cross-border secondments, dispute resolution, litigation and mediation for employment and pensions matters, including labour law and trade union issues and disputes, employee competition and confidentiality, employment contracts, policies, and collective agreements. Maria’s most recent focus has been on ESG-related issues, such as human rights, whistleblowing, supply and chain labour standards, human capital, etc.
 

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"Dynamic and proactive at every stage of the operation."

Chambers and Partners

Relevant experience

• Advising the world’s leader in insurance brokering and risk management on the labour and social security regulations in Bulgaria with respect to a newly registered manager of the company
• Advising Switzerland’s largest producer of renewable energy and an international leader in energy trading on the various possibilities for termination of employment agreements and change of management in Bulgaria. 
• Advising one of the biggest Bulgarian IT companies on various employment matters such as: hiring people with disabilities; renumeration; terminating employment agreements; liability of employees; posting workers to and hiring employees from other EU countries.
• Advising a global packaging company in the area of labour law in the context of the state of emergency in Bulgaria, including possible measures that the employer can implement regarding the employees, part-time work, conclusion and termination of different types of employment agreements; state compensations applications for employees’ salaries, as well as legal assistance and representation of the client before the Bulgarian court.
• Representing a leading retailer before the Bulgarian court on a civil lawsuit regarding the termination of an employment agreement and payment of compensation.
• Advising the client, one of the biggest Austrian construction companies, in the areas of labour law regarding possible employment measures during the state of emergency; health and safety during COVID-19; compliance with local regulations when introducing part-time work; termination of different types of employment agreements; etc. Additionally, advising the client on employment matters related to the introduction of a unified disciplinary sanctions policy in the company and on employment matters related to the compliance with the Collective Labour Agreement in the construction sector.
• Advising the Austrian client, a leader in the public sector consulting, in the area of labour law in the context of the state of emergency in Bulgaria, including issues as short-term work, furlough, government subsidies for employees, governmental funding, renumeration of employees, vacation, overtime issues, work councils, etc
 

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Memberships & Roles

• Bulgarian Bar Association
• New York Bar Association (pending)

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Education

  • 2016 – Master of Laws (LL.M.), International Business Practice concentration, Boston University School of Law
  • 2015 – Master of Laws (LL.M.), Plovdiv University Paisii Hilendarski
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Feed

25/11/2022
En­ergy Sav­ings Guide
This CMS Guide is de­signed to shine a light on the wide vari­ety of en­ergy sav­ing laws in se­lec­ted CEE coun­tries by ex­plain­ing the most im­port­ant leg­al meas­ures and help­ing you to dis­cov­er where your op­por­tun­it­ies might lie. Polit­ic­al and leg­al frame­work En­ergy trans­form­a­tion re­quires build­ing up new en­ergy sources and that takes time. Sav­ing en­ergy, how­ever, is the quick­est and cheapest way to ad­dress the cur­rent en­ergy crisis, which is mainly caused by Rus­sia’s in­va­sion of Ukraine. Re­du­cing en­ergy con­sump­tion cuts house­holds’ and com­pan­ies’ high en­ergy bills.Build­ing on the “Fit for 55” pack­age of pro­pos­als and com­plet­ing the ac­tions on en­ergy se­cur­ity of sup­ply and stor­age, the European Com­mis­sion’s RE­PowerEU plan put for­ward a set of five ac­tions, the first of which is en­ergy sav­ing. Uni­on law sets forth man­dat­ory sav­ing goals for Mem­ber States but leaves them plenty of lee­way to choose between a vari­ety of meas­ures. Ap­plic­ant coun­tries and many oth­ers have passed en­ergy sav­ings laws and tar­gets too – of­fer­ing ad­di­tion­al flex­ib­il­ity.As a frame­work, the Fit for 55 pack­age and the European Cli­mate Law (REG 2021/1119) sets out a bind­ing, ir­re­vers­ible re­duc­tion of an­thro­po­gen­ic emis­sions. By 2030, 55% of the net GHG (green­house gas) emis­sions com­pared to 1990 must be saved. By 2050, the man­dat­ory net zero emis­sion goal must be achieved.Reg­u­la­tion 2022/1032 re­quires that mem­ber states fill their gas stor­age fa­cil­it­ies to at least 80-90% or that they store at least 35% of their av­er­age an­nu­al con­sump­tion in European stor­age fa­cil­it­ies. Re­du­cing con­sump­tion over the years re­duces the filling ob­lig­a­tion.Since Au­gust 2022, ob­lig­at­ory re­duc­tions in gas con­sump­tion ap­ply to EU mem­ber states (Reg­u­la­tion 2022/1032). The core in­nov­a­tion of this re­gime is the Uni­on alarm that can be triggered by the European Coun­cil if there is a ma­ter­i­al risk of grave gas sup­ply short­ages, ex­traordin­ary gas de­mand or a na­tion­al alarm pur­su­ant to Dir­ect­ive 2017/1938 in at least five Mem­ber States. Once a Uni­on alarm has been triggered and for as long as it re­mains in force, mem­ber states must re­duce their gas con­sump­tion by 15%. There is a par­tial ex­cep­tion if this would oth­er­wise cause an elec­tri­city crisis in the re­spect­ive mem­ber state. However, the steer­ing meas­ures to be taken and wheth­er cer­tain groups of gas con­sumers are gran­ted more fa­vour­able con­di­tions re­main at the mem­ber state’s dis­cre­tion. Re­gard­ing elec­tri­city, Reg­u­la­tion 2022/1854 on an emer­gency in­ter­ven­tion to ad­dress high en­ergy prices aims to re­duce elec­tri­city con­sump­tion by 10% and ease the pres­sure on elec­tri­city prices through rev­en­ue caps. Again, Mem­ber States are free to choose the ap­pro­pri­ate meas­ures to re­duce gross elec­tri­city con­sump­tion and meet the 10% tar­get.Ad­di­tion­al rules ap­ply to the fuel con­sump­tion of trucks or the en­ergy con­sump­tion of dis­trict heat­ing/cool­ing. The CMS Guide The res­ult of these reg­u­la­tions con­cern­ing en­ergy sav­ing has been the in­tro­duc­tion of a wide vari­ety of en­ergy sav­ing laws in in­di­vidu­al states; and many more meas­ures are still to come. This CMS Guide is de­signed to shine a light on these reg­u­la­tions by ex­plain­ing the most im­port­ant leg­al meas­ures and help­ing you to dis­cov­er where your op­por­tun­it­ies might lie. For each jur­is­dic­tion, the guide is struc­tured in­to: (1) a coun­try over­view,  (2) na­tion­al re­lief meas­ures for high en­ergy prices,  (3) na­tion­al/re­gion­al/com­mun­al en­ergy sav­ings meas­ures, and  (4) en­ergy stor­age status and in­cent­ives.The fol­low­ing meas­ures have been chosen by the states rep­res­en­ted in this  guide:  sub­sidies to end-con­sumers (Aus­tria in gen­er­al for en­ergy prices; Croa­tia for gas con­sump­tion), price caps: elec­tri­city (Croa­tia for house­holds, un­der­tak­ings and cer­tain­pub­lic con­sumers; Ukraine for house­holds),re­duced VAT rate (Croa­tia, North Mace­do­nia), tax in­cent­ives to privately store gas (Ukraine); ex­emp­tion from steer­ing meas­ures for privately stor­ing gas (Aus­tria),sub­sidies to com­pensate for high en­ergy prices (Bul­garia and Slov­akia, in Slov­e­nia for en­ter­prises, in Türki­ye for ag­ri­cul­ture) and en­ergy sav­ing meas­ures: (Croa­tia for SMEs); the real­loc­a­tion of EU funds to sup­port en­ergy con­sumers (Slov­akia); sub­sidies for en­ergy stor­age solu­tions (Aus­tria, Bul­garia and Ukraine) or for heat pro­du­cers (Ukraine),en­ergy ef­fi­ciency meas­ures in­cl. di­git­al­isa­tion (Bul­garia),re­duced hours of elec­tri­city or heat­ing sup­ply (North Mace­do­nia) or of gas sup­ply (Slov­akia),re­duc­tion of en­ergy con­sump­tion by the pub­lic ad­min­is­tra­tion (Aus­tria, North Mace­do­nia, Slov­e­nia), an­dob­lig­a­tions on gas stor­age op­er­at­ors to feed gas in­to the grid (Aus­tria, Slov­akia) or to sup­ply heat pro­du­cers at pref­er­en­tial prices (Ukraine).re­wards for vol­un­tary re­duc­tion of gas and/or elec­tric en­ergy con­sump­tion (Slov­e­nia)educed per­mit­ting re­quire­ments for PV and wind plants (Türki­ye).
02/11/2022
Whis­tleblower pro­tec­tion and re­port­ing chan­nels in Bul­garia
1. Is there a law on whis­tleblow­ing in your coun­try? There is cur­rently no spe­cif­ic law on whis­tleblow­ing trans­posed in­to the Bul­gari­an le­gis­la­tion. As far as it ex­ists, the reg­u­la­tion is in­con­sist­ent...
Comparable
17/11/2021
CMS Em­ploy­ment Snack: Cov­id-19 - Safety at the Work­place
Rising in­fec­tion fig­ures and flat­lining vac­cin­a­tion rates are once again present­ing com­pan­ies with the chal­lenge of mak­ing work­places safe. But what meas­ures can and must be taken now?Our CMS Em­ploy­ment...
13/05/2021
Bul­garia en­acts EU dir­ect­ives on reg­u­lated con­sumer di­git­al en­vir­on­ment
On 4 March 2021, the Bul­gari­an par­lia­ment ad­op­ted the Act on the Sup­ply of Di­git­al Con­tent and Di­git­al Ser­vices and the Sale of Goods, which im­ple­ments the pro­vi­sions of Dir­ect­ive (EU) 2019/770 on con­tracts...
10/05/2021
The Fu­ture is Now: The New World of Work in Bul­garia
As a res­ult of the COV­ID-19 pan­dem­ic and meas­ures put in place in re­sponse, coun­tries around the world – in­clud­ing Bul­garia – have ad­op­ted new in­nov­a­tions in the area of em­ploy­ment in a bid to keep...
24/03/2021
The Bul­gari­an Com­mis­sion for Per­son­al Data Pro­tec­tion an­swers the ques­tion...
The Bul­gari­an Com­mis­sion for Per­son­al Data Pro­tec­tion (the CP­DP) has re­cently pub­lished ad­di­tion­al guidelines on the ap­point­ment of a Data Pro­tec­tion Of­ficer (DPO) by con­trol­lers and pro­cessors of per­son­al...
18/03/2021
CMS Em­ploy­ment Snack
Have you heard about the latest de­vel­op­ments in em­ploy­ment law? Mod­ern work­ing en­vir­on­ments are lead­ing to un­pre­ced­en­ted chal­lenges and the pan­dem­ic also con­ducts fre­quent and rap­id changes to la­bour law.   In our we­bin­ar series CMS Em­ploy­ment Snack – the name says it all – you can find out how to best deal with the nu­mer­ous em­ploy­ment law is­sues in ap­peal­ingly presen­ted and di­gest­ible por­tions. Our em­ploy­ment law ex­perts provide fre­quent in­form­a­tion here on everything you need to be aware of. We not only keep an eye on the leg­al situ­ation in Aus­tria but also on CEE jur­is­dic­tions.  The fol­low­ing epis­odes of our CMS Em­ploy­ment Snacks are cur­rently avail­able – we hope you en­joy listen­ing:
25/02/2021
Gov­ern­ment launches tender for waste in­cin­er­at­or in Sofia
Bul­garia launched a tender for ap­prox­im­ately EUR 149.4 mil­lion without VAT for the con­struc­tion of a com­bined heat and power plant (CHP) in Sofia. The dead­line for sub­mit­ting of­fers is 15 April 2021. The waste in­cin­er­at­or pro­ject plans to con­struct a fa­cil­ity for in­cin­er­at­ing an al­tern­at­ive fuel de­rived from pro­cessed waste – RDF (Re­fuse-De­rived Fuel). The RDF will be used by the Sofia Thermal Power Plant (TPP Sofia) as an al­tern­at­ive to nat­ur­al gas. The waste in­cin­er­a­tion plant must be built on the TPP Sofia site and will burn fuel pro­duced from Sofia res­id­ents’ waste.The ca­pa­city of the fu­ture in­stall­a­tion will be 180,000 tons of mod­i­fied waste per year. The fuel will be provided by the Sofia Mu­ni­cip­al­ity free of charge, which in turn should re­duce the costs of Toplofika­cia Sofia (the Sofia dis­trict heat­ing com­pany). The in­cin­er­at­or plant is ex­pec­ted to save around 65 mil­lion cu­bic meters of nat­ur­al gas per year, or EUR 15 to 18 mil­lion.
11/02/2021
Bul­garia ad­opts Dir­ect­ive 2018/975/EU on post­ing of em­ploy­ees
On 22 Janu­ary 2021, the Bul­gari­an par­lia­ment passed an amend­ment to the Or­din­ance on the terms and pro­ced­ures for post­ing and second­ment of work­ers and em­ploy­ees with­in the frame­work of the pro­vi­sion...
20/10/2020
Re­struc­tur­ing and Mass Re­dund­an­cies
Em­ploy­ment Snack
03/12/2020
CMS Em­ploy­ment Snack: Re­struc­tur­ing and Mass Re­dund­an­cies I Bul­garia
The im­pact of Cov­id-19 on the glob­al eco­nomy poses sig­ni­fic­ant chal­lenges to nu­mer­ous com­pan­ies. Many are now forced to re­struc­ture their busi­nesses to en­sure their eco­nom­ic sur­viv­al. Mass re­dund­an­cies...
02/09/2020
Home Of­fice and oth­er treats
Em­ploy­ment Snack