Coronavirus: Council adopts temporary rules to extend the time limit for general meetings of “European companies” (SEs) and cooperatives (SCEs)

Today the Council adopted the Commission’s proposal for a temporary derogation from the rules governing “European Companies (SEs)” and the European Cooperative Society (SCEs), only four weeks after the Commission had proposed it. The European Parliament had given its consent on 14 May. A “European Company” is a type of public limited-liability company, whose status allows to run its business in different European countries using a single set of rules. The measures will allow EuropeanCompanies and the European Cooperative Societies to exceptionally hold their general meetings within twelve months of the end of the financial year, instead of within six months as provided for in the legislation. However, with the new rules, the general meetings should not take place later than 31 December 2020. Didier Reynders, Commissioner for Justice, and Thierry Breton, Commissioner for Internal Market, said: “We welcome the swift adoption of those emergency measures by Council after Parliament’s consent. This crisis shakes up all companies to the core, whether they are national or European. Thanks to those measures, European Companies and European Cooperative Societies will have more time to hold their general meetings and take the legally or economically necessary decisions to secure their functioning during those challenging times.” Holding general meetings is critical to ensure that legally required or economically necessary decisions for the company or the cooperative society, shareholders, members and third parties are taken in due time. The emergency measures will enter into application on the day after their publication in the Official Journal of the European Union.More information on the temporary measures for European Companies and European Cooperative Societies can be found on the Commission’s page on Company law and Corporate Governance. As for all the other Commission’s measures to cope with the coronavirus crisis, see page on the EU coronavirus response.