European Commission launches public consultation on the modernisation of EU company law

The European Commission just launched a public consultation on how to improve EU company law. Commissioner Vera Jourová said: “Our Internal Market offers vast opportunities to European companies and thereby is a driver for jobs and growth. But EU company law rules are not up to speed with the digital age and businesses still struggle with uncertainties in many cross-border situations. We need to provide modern and clear rules. And we need a modern approach towards administering them: Companies should be able to use digital tools at every step, from registration to filing, and when communicating with shareholders.”  The consultation will help the Commission assess the best way forward with regards to the scope and the content of a possible future initiative on EU company law. The initiative would aim to make the internal market simpler and fairer by allowing a greater use of digital tools, by providing clearer and legally certain EU procedures for some cross border operations and by ensuring more effective protection through safeguards and improved access to relevant information for all stakeholders concerned, in particular for creditors and employees. It would seek to fight against the abuses of social rights and possibilities of fraud. The current EU company law is not adapted to the digital age yet nor sufficiently supportive of the development of a fully-fledged, seamless Internal Market. It does not allow companies to reap all the benefits of digital technologies nor provide a comprehensive framework for cross-border mobility of companies and clear rules on the jurisdiction that applies to companies in case of cross-border conflicts. The public consultation seeks to collect views from a broad range of stakeholders, as well as from the public on three points: 1) on the use of digital tools and processes throughout a company’s lifecycle, 2) on the cross-border mobility of companies (mergers, divisions, conversions) and 3) on the conflict-of-law rules for companies. The results of the consultation will feed into the company law initiative, announced by the Commission in its 2017 Work Programme. The consultation is available here this afternoon and will be open until the 6 August July 2017