EU Company Law: Past, Present and … Future?

and Carlos GorrizORCID iD: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-6555-6251

Abstract

As 2018 marks the 50th anniversary of the approval of the first Directive on EU Company Law, it is a good time to review its past and present in order to assess whether its foreseeable future meets the needs of European enterprises. The study of the evolution of EU Company Law demonstrates that its evolution has been discontinuous. It started with a lot of ambition, but suffered a crisis that conditioned its future development: regulated issues were considerably restricted, legal instruments were extended and legislative technique was modified, essentially to circumvent the reservations of the Member States. It could seem that these changes are working, because the Action Plan 2012 is starting to bear fruits. Three legal rules have been approved and several projects are underway. Nonetheless, there are reasons to doubt whether EU Company Law is meeting its objectives: the impact of the new legal rules is minimal, the future of the project is uncertain and, although the bureaucratic burdens have been reduced, there are various needs of European firms, especially those of SMEs, that have not been yet satisfied.

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