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European Company Law: what way forward?

The European Commission has launched an in-depth consultation on the future of European company law. It argues that Europe needs a company law framework that is adapted to the needs of the society of today and to the evolution of the economic environment.

European company law provides a common set of rules that offers equivalent protection to shareholders, creditors and other stakeholders across the EU who are affected by companies' actions. Company law is crucial to ensure legal certainty and protect shareholders' rights.

According to the Commission, whilst Member States different legal traditions and company structures must be respected, harmonisation of the basic rules makes it easier for companies to offer services and products to all customers in the Union. It points out that the growth of cross-border trade and the development of e-commerce present many opportunities for businesses and consumers but they also present challenges for the existing company law framework. That is why reflection on how to adapt the existing framework to the new landscape of the 21st century is necessary.

"Shaping EU policy on European Company law is a challenge that we have to meet. Getting company law right makes it easier for businesses to develop across the EU to the benefit of their shareholders and customers,” said Michel Barnier, Internal Market and Services Commissioner. “The landscape for company law is changing and we need to think about how best to adapt our regulatory framework. That is why I invite stakeholders to respond to the public consultation ."

The following issues are covered in the consultation:

* Objectives and scope of European company law
* Codification of European company law
* The future of company legal forms at European level
* Cross-border mobility for companies
* Groups of companies
* Capital regime for European companies

Comments are sought by 14th May 2012.

see consultation

February  2012


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