EU Company Law

The right to propose new European legislation or changes to existing legislation lies with the European Commission. Legislation then has to be agreed, usually by the Council and the Parliament in the so-called co-decision procedure. EU action in the area of company law, however, does not always take the form of legally binding measures such as Directives or Regulations. It can also be non-binding measures such as Recommendations or Opinions.

In May 2003, the EU Commission published the EU Action Plan for Company Law and Corporate Governance setting out what it considered to be the priorities for action at the EU level. To view further information on the EU Action Plan please click on the appropriate link on the right of the screen.

The United Kingdom held the Presidency of the Council of the European Union from 1 July until 31 December 2005. The Presidency has now passed to Austria from 1 January 2006. To find out more about the Austrian Presidency please visit their website (using the link on the right of this page).

UK Approach to EU Company Law and Corporate Governance

The UK supports EU action in the area of company law if it is focused on cross-border issues and trying to achieve objectives that could not be reached with action at national level alone. We believe, however, that any EU action should be based on clear economic objectives, should reflect market needs and should resort to legislation only when all other alternatives have been fully considered.

The UK approach to EU company law has been set out in more detail in a DTI publication, The UK approach to EU company law and corporate governance   (which can be viewed by clicking on the link on the right of the screen) which was launched on 20 July 2005.  It encourages UK stakeholders to get actively engaged in shaping the future EU agenda in this area and provides information on how stakeholders can get involved.