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What is the prevailing attitude towards foreign investment?
Before the transition from communism in 1989 to 1990, Act XXIV of 1988 on the Investments of Foreigners in Hungary (the Foreign Investment Act) was enacted to protect and attract foreign investment in Hungary.
As a result of ensuing liberalisation during the past 25 years, most of its specific rules have been set aside. However, the remaining rules continue to reflect a welcoming attitude towards foreign investors, providing important guarantees such as full protection and security, the immediate compensation of damages resulting from nationalisation, expropriation or other similar legal measures affecting the ownership rights of foreign nationals to the value and currency in which the investment was made, with the possibility of a court review of the decision on compensation.
The Hungarian Investment Promotion Agency (HIPA) is the government organisation assisting potential foreign investors seeking information about their investment. With regard to already settled foreign investors, the Hungarian government’s most recent policy is to conclude strategic agreements with the most important investors, ensuring that the particular investor will receive an instant and comprehensive insight into the legislative changes affecting its industry.
What are the main sectors for foreign investment in the state?
According to the most recent data from the Hungarian Central Office of Statistics, foreign direct investment is concentrated in terms of sectors and origin. The statistics show that 83 per cent of foreign direct investment (FDI) is concentrated in four sectors:
- manufacturing (36 per cent);
- real property (20 per cent);
- commerce (15 per cent); and
- finance (12 per cent).
Out of manufacturing, automotive manufacturing, electrical, information technology, optical and medical appliance manufacturing, pharmaceuticals and food processing are the most important fields. Other important sectors are biotechnology, information-technology services, shared service centres and logistics.
Recent trends include the growing importance of manufacturing and industry, and the relative decreasing importance of the service sectors. There are, however, important investments in shared service centres. Two-thirds of all foreign investment originates from six countries; the most important of which is Germany, where a quarter of all foreign investment in Hungary originates. The next two largest investors are the Netherlands (14.2 per cent) and Austria (13 per cent). Luxembourg, France and the United States each represent between 4.9 and 5.7 per cent of all foreign investments in Hungary.
Is there a net inflow or outflow of foreign direct investment?
There has traditionally been a net inflow of investment in Hungary. In 2014, the amount of the inward FDI was approximately US$6.79 billion; the figure for 2015 is slightly lower. The net FDI balance in 2014, according to the revised figures of the Hungarian National Bank, was approximately €2.7 billion. In 2016, divestments outpaced investments, resulting in a negative inflow of US$5.3 billion, but this is generally considered a temporary setback owing to specific circumstances.
According to publicly available expert reports, in 2015, 94 FDI projects were completed and, on the basis of the number of new employment positions generated, Hungary was in the top 10 of European countries for newly created employment.
Investment agreement legislation
Describe domestic legislation governing investment agreements with the state or state-owned entities.
There is no specific legal rule relating to investment agreements. Among the numerous rules relating to contracts with state or state-owned entities are the following.
According to section 3:405, Act V of 2013 on the Civil Code in civil law relationships, the state shall be considered a legal entity, represented by the minister responsible for supervising state assets. (Currently, this is the Minister of National Development.) According to section 3:406 of the Civil Code, the state and legal entities forming part of the state budget shall be liable for their civil law obligations, even if no budgetary funds are planned to cover it.
Rules relating to state assets and transactions relating to state assets are set forth in Act CXCVI of 2011 on National Assets (the National Assets Act). Importantly, these rules require a competitive bidding procedure before transferring state assets and only permit the transfer of state assets to the best bidder. The contract can only be signed with transparent entities. Hungarian or foreign business associations are considered transparent, if the following conditions are true for the business association and its shareholders directly or indirectly at least 25 per cent:
- its ownership structure and beneficial owner is known;
- it is seated in a European Union, European Economic Area or Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development member state or in a state with which Hungary entered into a treaty for the avoidance of double taxation; and
- it is not qualified as a controlled foreign corporation according to corporate tax rules.
The National Assets Act contains an exhaustive list of activities that can be performed exclusively by state or state entities. The performance of some of those activities may be transferred temporarily to private entities. In this respect, the National Assets Act refers to Act XVI of 1991 on concessions, which regulates in detail the requirements of a competitive bidding procedure to be conducted before awarding a concession and certain rules relating to the concession contract itself.
Detailed rules relating to the bidding process and the contracts concluded in connection with the transfer of ownership or use of state assets (including shares in state-owned companies) are enacted in Act CVI of 2007 on state assets.
According to section 17 of the National Assets Act introduced on 30 June 2012, civil law contracts relating to national assets situated in Hungary had to be governed by Hungarian law and were subject to Hungarian courts’ (excluding arbitration tribunals) jurisdiction. Arbitration agreements in connection with such disputes were explicitly forbidden. The contract had to be signed in Hungarian and the Hungarian version governed. As of 19 March 2015, the previous restriction on the conclusion of arbitration agreements was eliminated. The National Assets Act expressly indicates that the exclusive jurisdiction of Hungarian courts does not affect the possibility to stipulate arbitration clauses.
International legal obligations
Identify and give brief details of the bilateral or multilateral investment treaties to which the state is a party, also indicating whether they are in force.
Hungary has ratified the Energy Charter Treaty, which is promulgated by Act XXXV of 1999. Hungary has also ratified the Trade Amendment of the Energy Charter Treaty.
As of 1 September 2018, Hungary has or had bilateral investment treaties with the following countries: Albania, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belgium and Luxembourg, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Cambodia (signed but not in force), Canada, Chile (signed but not in force), China, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Egypt, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, India (terminated in 2017), Indonesia (terminated), Israel (terminated in 2007), Italy (terminated in 2008), Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Latvia, Lebanon, Lithuania, Macedonia, Malaysia, Moldova, Mongolia, Morocco, the Netherlands, Norway, Paraguay, Poland, Portugal, Korea, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Tunisia (signed but not in force), Turkey, Ukraine, the United Kingdom (including the territories of Bermuda, Gibraltar, Guernsey, Isle of Man, Jersey, and the Turks and Caicos Islands), Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Vietnam and Yemen.
If applicable, indicate whether the bilateral or multilateral investment treaties to which the state is a party extend to overseas territories.
By an exchange of notes at Budapest on 25 October and 7 November 1991 respectively, the bilateral agreement between the United Kingdom and Hungary was extended to the Isle of Man, Gibraltar, the Turks and Caicos Islands, Bermuda and the Bailiwicks of Guernsey and Jersey. The following exchange of notes entered into force on 7 November 1991:
- the bilateral investment treaty concluded between France and Hungary does not address the issue of overseas territories;
- the bilateral investment treaty concluded between the Netherlands and Hungary only applies to the part of the Netherlands in Europe and to Aruba;
- the bilateral investment treaty concluded between China and Hungary does not specifically address the issue of Macau and Hong Kong; and
- the bilateral investment treaty concluded between Denmark and Hungary does not apply to the Faroe Islands and Greenland.
Has the state amended or entered into additional protocols affecting bilateral or multilateral investment treaties to which it is a party?
Hungary did not enter into any additional protocol that would affect the bilateral or multilateral investment treaties to which it is a party.
Has the state unilaterally terminated any bilateral or multilateral investment treaties to which it is a party?
In 2016, India sent notices to dozens of countries - including Hungary - announcing its intention to terminate its various bilateral investment treaties. The bilateral investment treaty concluded with Hungary terminated on 29 March 2017. In accordance with article 15 of the bilateral investment treaty, the treaty will continue to be effective for a further period of 15 years from the date of its termination in respect of investments made or acquired before the date of the termination of the agreement.
In 2015, Indonesia announced that it would allow all 67 of its bilateral investment treaties to expire. The bilateral investment treaty concluded with Hungary terminated on 12 February 2016. In accordance with article XII of the treaty, in respect of investments made prior to the date of the termination of the agreement, the provisions of the treaty will continue to be effective for a further period of 10 years from the date of the termination of the present agreement.
Italy and Hungary terminated their bilateral investment treaty by mutual consent on 10 January 2008. The treaty remained effective in connection with existing investments for an additional five-year term after termination.
The bilateral investment treaty between Israel and Hungary was terminated on 26 June 2007. The treaty remained effective in connection with existing investments for an additional 10-year term after termination.
Has the state entered into multiple bilateral or multilateral investment treaties with overlapping membership?
Similar to other countries, the Energy Charter Treaty coexists well with numerous bilateral investment treaties concluded by Hungary.
The European Union and Singapore completed the negotiations for a comprehensive free trade agreement in 2014. Upon the entry into force of the agreement, the bilateral investment treaty concluded between Hungary and Singapore will cease to have effect and will be replaced and superseded by the provisions of the free trade agreement.
The current draft version of the free trade agreement to be concluded between the European Union and Vietnam contains similar provisions.
Is the state party to the ICSID Convention?
Hungary signed the Convention on the Settlement of Investment Disputes between States and Nationals of Other States 1965 (ICSID Convention) 1 October 1986, implementing the ratified version on 4 February 1987. The ICSID Convention entered into force with respect to Hungary on 6 March 1987. The first ICSID case was registered against Hungary on 25 April 2001 and there are seven concluded and five pending cases against Hungary.
Is the state a party to the UN Convention on Transparency in Treaty-based Investor-State Arbitration (Mauritius Convention)?
As of 1 September 2018, Hungary did not sign the Mauritius Convention.
Investment treaty programme
Does the state have an investment treaty programme?
Hungary concluded almost all of its bilateral investment treaties in the course of the 1980s and 1990s during its transition from communism. During the 2000s, when increasing direct investment emerged from the Middle East, Hungary concluded bilateral investment treaties with Azerbaijan, Jordan, Lebanon and Yemen. Hungary has no formal investment treaty programme at the moment.
Regulation of inbound foreign investment
Government investment promotion programmes
Does the state have a foreign investment promotion programme?
The Hungarian government grants financial assistance to companies that decide to invest in Hungary on a case-by-case approach. However, when granting state subsidies as a member of the European Union, Hungary shall take into consideration the EU’s common legal framework, including, in particular, the prohibition of state aid. Without introducing the respective EU legal framework, a significant investment can be entitled to receive state subsidies of up to 50 per cent of the eligible costs of the investment.
The Hungarian government provides substantial specific incentives for certain manufacturing and service projects. Such incentives include tax allowance for the post-investment period, training and job creation subsidies, and workshop setup aid.
Applicable domestic laws
Identify the domestic laws that apply to foreign investors and foreign investment, including any requirements of admission or registration of investments.
There are no general admission or registration requirements. The general law applying to foreign investors and foreign investments is the Foreign Investment Act. This states that foreign nationals have a right of establishment in Hungary for the pursuit of an economic activity on their own account on a regular basis under economic exposure with a view to making a profit, in the same forms as domestic entities (eg, private entrepreneurs, sole proprietorships, branch offices or commercial representations of a foreign company or Hungarian business association).
It is also explicitly permitted for undertakings operating with foreign participation to take part in the foundation of other business associations or other business associations, or acquire holdings in existing business associations.
Domestic establishment is not required provided that the business does not have employees in Hungary and provided that the activities in Hungary are limited to the following:
- lecturing and researching;
- artistic performances;
- professional sporting activities;
- activities limited to the supply of goods and services the foreign national has acquired in a foreign country and exported to Hungary, provided it is accomplished in his or her absence with the use of a commercial card issued abroad by the foreign national in question; and
- management of real estate or natural resources in return for consideration, the transfer, sale and contribution in kind of any rights in immovable or in natural resources in return for consideration.
Cross-border services without domestic establishment, outside the scope of cross-border services on the basis of EU legislation, may only be provided where it is expressly permitted by law or international treaty.
Relevant regulatory agency
Identify the state agency that regulates and promotes inbound foreign investment.
The HIPA was established by Government Decree No. 183/2014 of 25 July 2014 to provide professional help to foreign companies intending to invest in Hungary. HIPA is an organisation operating under the supervision of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. HIPA has a dual task in connection with promoting foreign investments, since the HIPA cooperates with both the government and the investors themselves. Within the framework of its cooperation with the government, HIPA’s task is to help decision-makers and legislators in deciding and forming policies to attract foreign investors. Within the parameters of its work with foreign investors, its task is to assist investors wishing to invest in Hungary or who currently have an investment in the country.
Relevant dispute agency
Identify the state agency that must be served with process in a dispute with a foreign investor.
According to section 3:405(2) of the Civil Code, in civil law relationships, the state is represented by the minister in charge of supervising state assets. According to section 144 of Government Decree No. 94/2018 (V.22.) on the scope of powers and duties of the members of the government, the minister responsible for the management of state assets, Andrea Bártfai-Mager, is in charge of supervising state assets.
Investment treaty practice
Does the state have a model BIT?
Hungary does not have a model BIT at the moment.
Does the state have a central repository of treaty preparatory materials? Are such materials publicly available?
According to Act L of 2005 on the procedure relating to international treaties, the minister in charge of foreign policy is responsible for keeping the original copies of international treaties and a register of the most important data relating to such treaties. According to the law, the register should be available on the internet. The registry is available at: www.kulugyminiszterium.hu/szerzodes/main.aspx. Furthermore, the International Law Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade provides information upon request. Treaty preparatory materials are usually kept with the ministry in charge of negotiations at the time. In practice, the chances of locating and accessing them are variable.
The National Archives of Hungary also keeps records of international treaties and diplomatic correspondence. These are researchable upon request. Documents relating to foreign affairs are available at: www.digitarchiv.hu.
Scope and coverage
What is the typical scope of coverage of investment treaties?
Typically, investment treaties have a broad definition of both ‘investor’ and ‘investment’. The definition of ‘investment’ usually includes every kind of asset invested in connection with economic activities. The most important types of investment are generally listed in a non-exhaustive list, including:
- movable and immovable property as well as any other rights in rem such as mortgages, liens, pledges and similar rights;
- shares, stocks and debentures of companies or any other form of participation in a company;
- claims to money or to any performance having an economic value associated with an investment;
- intellectual and industrial property rights, including copyrights, trademarks, patents, designs, rights of breeders, technical processes, know-how, trade secrets, geographical indications, trade names and goodwill associated with an investment; and
- rights conferred by law or under contract and any licences and permits pursuant to Law 8, such as concessions.
Returns of investments are often explicitly qualified as investment. It is often agreed that any alteration of the form of investment shall not affect their character as investment.
The definition of investor is similarly extensive and generally includes any natural or legal person of one contracting party that has made an investment in the territory of the other contracting party.
In the case of natural persons, this requires having the nationality of either contracting party. In the case of legal persons, this requires a legal entity incorporated or constituted in accordance with the laws of one contracting party. In many cases, it is also required that the legal entity has its central administration or principal place of business in the territory of the contracting party. Some of the most recent BITs allow the contracting parties to deny the benefits of the treaty to an investor of the other contracting party, if investors of a non-contracting party own or control the enterprise and the enterprise has no substantial business activities in the territory of the contracting party under whose law it is constituted.
In this case, the contracting parties may also deny the benefits of the treaties to an investor of the other contracting party (or an investment of such contracting party) and to investments of such investor. This will occur if investors of a non-contracting party own or control the investment and the denying contracting party adopts or maintains measures with respect to the non-contracting party that prohibit transactions with the investment or that would be violated or circumvented if the benefits of the agreement were accorded to the investments of investors.
What substantive protections are typically available?
Typically, investment treaties provide fair and equitable treatment and full protection and security. In certain cases, for example, the treaty with Italy, this is completed with an express prohibition of discrimination.
Virtually every investment treaty provides a national and most-favoured-nation (MFN) treatment of the investment. The scope of the MFN clauses vary but often include compensation for losses owing to wars, emergencies and similar situations. Treaties also guarantee the free transfer of returns and recognition of the subrogation of investors’ rights and claim to export or credit guarantee institutions of the investor’s state.
Typically, Hungarian BITs contain no umbrella clauses. Some of the earlier treaties contain umbrella clauses, which may be rather vague. For example, the UK-Hungary BIT sets forth that contracting parties shall observe any obligations it may have entered into with regard to investments of investors of the other contracting party. Treaties, without exception, protect against expropriation, typically setting out that expropriation or measures with equivalent effect can only be carried out for a public purpose, under due process of law, on a non-discriminatory basis, with prompt, adequate and effective compensation. The exact rules, however, vary.
What are the most commonly used dispute resolution options for investment disputes between foreign investors and your state?
Every investment protection treaty provides investor-state arbitration, although the scope varies. In many cases, arbitration is limited to disputes relating to expropriation. Almost all BITs provide for a mandatory cooling period of six months available for amicable settlement.
The most commonly used dispute resolution option is ICSID. In many cases, there is a possibility of ad hoc arbitration according to UNCITRAL rules, upon the choice of the investor. A minority of BITs contain consent to submit the dispute to ICC in Paris or the Arbitration Institute of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce.
A minority of treaties require exhaustion of local remedies or contain ‘fork-in-the-road’ provisions, setting forth that once a dispute is submitted to any court or arbitration tribunal, the choice is final and cannot be changed. In particular, recent BITs set a period of limitation to enforce claims.
Does the state have an established practice of requiring confidentiality in investment arbitration?
We are not aware of any publicly established or stated practice.
According to publicly available information, Hungary requested confidentiality in two cases: Emmis v Hungary (ARB/12/2) and Accession v Hungary (ARB/12/3) out of 15 pending or concluded cases. However, the scope of these requests is not publicly available.
According to ICSID’s official website, out of the nine cases concluded with an award on the merits, seven have been made public: Emmis v Hungary (ARB/12/2), AES Summit Generation Limited and AES-Tisza Erőmű Kft v Hungary (ARB/07/22), Telenor v Hungary (ARB/04/15), ADC v Hungary (ARB/03/16), Electrabel SA v Hungary (ARB/07/19), Vigotop Limited v Hungary (ARB/11/22), Accession v Hungary (ARB/12/3). In addition, in the pending case Dan Cake (Portugal) SA v Hungary (ARB/12/9), the award on jurisdiction and liability has been made public.
Does the state have an investment insurance agency or programme?
Hungary does not have such a programme at the moment.
The Hungarian Export-Import Bank’s investment insurance facility provides cover for country and political risks, in respect of the capital invested in a foreign enterprise and the return on such investment.
Investment arbitration history
Number of arbitrations
How many known investment treaty arbitrations has the state been involved in?
According to publicly available information, Hungary has been involved in 15 investment treaty arbitrations before ICSID.
As of 6 September 2018, nine cases have been concluded. In seven cases, an award was rendered on the merits: Vigotop v Hungary (ARB/11/22), Emmis v Hungary (ARB/12/2), AES v Hungary (ARB/07/22), Telenor v Hungary (ARB/04/15), I (ARB/03/16), Accession v Hungary (ARB/12/3) and Electrabel SA v Hungary (ARB/07/19), Edenred v Hungary (ARB/13/21). Two cases were settled and discontinued, AES v Hungary (ARB/01/4); ENGIE SA, GDF International SAS and ENGIE International Holdings BV v Hungary (ARB/16/14).
As of 6 September 2018, six cases are pending against Hungary: Mazen Al Ramahi v Hungary (ARB/17/45); Magyar Farming Company Ltd, Kintyre Kft and Inicia Zrt v Hungary (ARB/17/27), Sodexo v Hungary (ARB/14/20), Chèque Déjeuner v Hungary (ARB/13/35), Dan Cake v Hungary (ARB/12/9). More than half of the 15 cases against Hungary were filed within the past four years.
The UNCITRAL case of EDF International SA v Republic of Hungary has also been reported as concluded.
Industries and sectors
Do the investment arbitrations involving the state usually concern specific industries or investment sectors?
In 2013-14, three independent proceedings were initiated against the Hungarian state by a French food-voucher issuer in: Sodexo v Hungary (ARB/14/20), Chèque Déjeuner v Hungary (ARB/13/35) and Edenred v Hungary (ARB/13/21).
In 2012, two independent procedures were initiated against the Hungarian state in connection with the commercial radio sector: Emmis v Hungary (ARB/12/2) and Accession v Hungary (ARB/12/3).
Five cases relate to the energy sector: AES v Hungary (ARB/07/22), AES v Hungary (ARB/01/4), Electrabel SA v Hungary (ARB/07/19), ENGIE SA, GDF International SAS and ENGIE International Holdings BV v Hungary (ARB/16/14) and EDF International SA v Republic of Hungary (UNCITRAL).
The remaining cases relate to gambling (Vigotop v Hungary (ARB/11/22)), telecommunications (Telenor v Hungary (ARB/04/15)), a commercial airport operation (ADC v Hungary (ARB/03/16)), the food industry (Dan Cake v Hungary (ARB/12/9)), agriculture (Magyar Farming Company Ltd, Kintyre Kft and Inicia Zrt v Hungary (ARB/17/27)) and tourism (Mazen Al Ramahi v Hungary (ARB/17/45)).
Does the state have a history of using default mechanisms for appointment of arbitral tribunals or does the state have a history of appointing specific arbitrators?
According to publicly available data, an application to use a default mechanism to appoint the president of the tribunal has been made in one case, Edenred v Hungary (ARB/13/21).
Hungary appointed Brigitte Stern as state arbitrator in three cases: AES v Hungary (ARB/07/22), Electrabel SA v Hungary (ARB/07/19) and Mazen Al Ramahi v Hungary (ARB/17/45), and J Christopher Thomas in two: Sodexo v Hungary (ARB/14/20) and Emmis v Hungary (ARB/12/2). In the remaining cases, Hungary appointed different arbitrators.
Does the state typically defend itself against investment claims? Give details of the state’s internal counsel for investment disputes.
The Hungarian state actively defends itself in investment arbitration cases. Apart from one example, AES v Hungary (ARB/01/4), Hungary has not settled in investment arbitrations. The Hungarian state does not have a dedicated internal counsel for investment disputes; it mandates different well-known international law firms.
Enforcement of awards against the state
Is the state party to any international agreements regarding enforcement, such as the 1958 UN Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards?
Hungary promulgated the Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards 1958 (New York Convention) by Law Decree No. 25 of 1962 with the following reservation: ‘The Hungarian People’s Republic shall apply the Convention to the recognition and enforcement of such awards only as have been made in the territory of one of the other contracting states and are dealing with differences arising in respect of a legal relationship considered by the Hungarian law as a commercial relationship.’
Does the state usually comply voluntarily with investment treaty awards rendered against it?
Before 2016, there was only one publicly available (ADC v Hungary (ARB/03/16)) and one reported (EDF International SA v Republic of Hungary (UNCITRAL)) international arbitration award where Hungary was ordered to pay damages to the investor. In accordance with the award rendered on 13 December 2016 in Edenred v Hungary (ARB/13/21), Hungary was also ordered to pay damages to the investor. In April 2017, Hungary filed an application for the annulment of the award. Although the Ad Hoc Committee has not rendered its award yet, Hungary has complied with it.
In accordance with the above, we are not aware of any public information according to which Hungary failed to voluntarily comply with the award. We are also not aware of any indication that Hungary would not fully comply with a potential international investment arbitration award in the future.
If not, does the state appeal to its domestic courts or the courts where the arbitration was seated against unfavourable awards?
Hungary initiated a lawsuit for the annulment of the award rendered in EDF International SA v Republic of Hungary (UNCITRAL). The Swiss Federal Supreme Court rejected the appeal of Hungary in October 2015.
In April 2017, Hungary filed an application for annulment of the award rendered in the Edenred v Hungary (ARB/13/21) case. The Ad Hoc Committee has not rendered its award yet.
Provisions hindering enforcement
Give details of any domestic legal provisions that may hinder the enforcement of awards against the state within its territory.
In the case of enforcement of judgments or awards in Hungary against a foreign state, section 85 of XXVIII of 2017 on Private International Law must be observed. This rule recognises sovereign immunity in connection with foreign states involved in Hungarian enforcement proceedings, setting forth that no enforcement can be conducted against a foreign state over an asset of such foreign state located in Hungary, which serves the purpose of fulfilling the state’s public powers and the operation of its bodies.
In contrast, no similar rule exists in connection with enforcements against the Hungarian state. Therefore, such procedures are subject to the ordinary rules of enforcement, according to which, the enforcement is to be conducted over the entirety of the assets of the debtor. The exceptions are assets listed in Hungarian legal rules as belonging exclusively to the state; these include riverbeds, radio frequencies and monuments, as well as shares in certain state-owned companies. Such assets are listed in a number of different legal rules, in particular the National Assets Act.