Consultation - European Private Company

Publikováno: 16. 3. 2006

DG Market has launched a consultation on future priorities for the action plan on modernising company law and enhancing corporate governance in the European Union. Part of this consultation concerns the implementation of a new legal European statute for SMEs, similar to the European Company.
EuroCommerce welcomes the Commissions´ initiative to facilitate cross-border activities for SMEs. The proposed European Private Company (EPC) could be an important step forward in allowing SMEs to grow and capture new markets within the European Union. However, the EPC has to be flexible and easy to incorporate. References to national company law should be avoided as they would create only a more complicated situation and increase the need for counselling. SMEs make up 99% of all European companies. Many of them, especially companies of the trading sector, operate in more than one Member State of the European Union and need easier procedures to expand their activities. Dealing with 25 different national company laws and regulations often prevents SMEs from expansion as they simply lack personal and financial resources. Big companies can deal with such issues and furthermore have the possibility to establish a “Societas Europeae”. Creating similar opportunities for SMEs would therefore be the logical next step and could be a vital part of increasing the competitiveness of the European economy. The main advantages of the EPC are twofold: Legal simplification and the creation of a “European label” for SMEs. Not having to deal with various different company laws would be a major improvement for SMEs. Re-structuring a group would become much easier as well as cross-border mergers. Legal certainty would increase and therefore reduce still existing barriers. This all leads to a significant reduction of costs and red tape. Introducing a “European label” would create trust among European business partners. As the characteristics of an EPC would be commonly known, doing business for a Latvian SME with a German company would be much easier. This psychological advantage of the EPC should not be underestimated. To make the EPC a success it has to be adapted to the needs of SMEs. Most important are the following two points: • The incorporation of an EPC has to be accessible for a broad range of international active SMEs and simple; administrative burdens have to be avoided • References to national law have to be avoided as they would only lead to a more complex situation Taking these comments into account we strongly believe in the positive effects of an EPC-statute and fully support this initiative. We will be ready to discuss this topic in-depth with the Commission and other stakeholders.
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