Company law, corporate governance, accounting & auditing
The Commission launched a public consultation on the potential economic consequences of country-by-country reporting under Directive 2013/36/EU (Capital Requirements Directive or CRD)
The purpose of this consultation is to collect information and obtain input from all interested stakeholders on the potential economic consequences of public disclosure by banks and investment firms on a country-by-country basis of their profit and loss before tax, tax on profit or loss and public subsidies received.
Directive on interconnection of business registers: first set of obligations transposed by Member States
As of today, business registers will also have to make available information on the rules in their national law, according to which third parties can rely on certain company documents.
New rules to strengthen regulation and transparency of remuneration in banks and investment firms in the EU
Today, new EU rules to strengthen regulation and transparency of remuneration in banks and investment firms in the European Union have entered into force. The new rules relate to the identification of categories of staff whose professional activities have a material impact on an institution's risk profile (so-called ‘material risk takers’).
Improving corporate governance: Europe’s largest companies will have to be more transparent about how they operate
"Companies that already publish information on their financial and non-financial performances take a longer term perspective in their decision-making. This is important for Europe’s competitiveness and the creation of more jobs". Statement by Commissioner Barnier
European Commission proposes to strengthen shareholder engagement and introduce a "say on pay" for Europe’s largest companies
The European Commission has today adopted a package of measures to improve the corporate governance of around 10 000 companies listed on Europe’s stock exchanges. The package includes: a proposal to revise the existing Shareholder Rights Directive which will encourage shareholders to be more involved in the companies they invest in and to take a longer-term perspective into account; a recommendation to improve corporate governance reporting by listed companies; and a proposal for a directive on single-member companies which will help entrepreneurs reduce costs and organise activities abroad.
The European Parliament adopted today the amended Directive on statutory audit and the Regulation on specific requirements regarding the statutory audit of public-interest entities. The new rules will considerably strengthen audit quality across the European Union and will ensure that auditors are key contributors to economic and financial stability.
European Parliament backs Commission proposal for the EU co-financing of the IFRS Foundation, the EFRAG and the PIOB
The European Parliament backed the European Commission’s proposal of co-financing the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) Foundation, the European Financial Reporting Advisory Group (EFRAG), and the Public Interest Oversight Board (PIOB), three organisations that play a key role in the elaboration of accounting and auditing standards.
Disclosure of non-financial information by certain large companies: European Parliament and Council reach agreement on the Commission’s proposal
“Europe needs modern and useful rules on transparency of non-financial information by certain large companies. I am glad to see that the European Parliament and the Council agree and support the Commission on this proposal”, said Michel Barnier.
Commissioner Barnier prolongs Philippe Maystadt’s mission with a view to ensuring adequate and timely follow-up of EFRAG reform
“The EU needs a sound framework for the development of high quality accounting standards. I am happy that Mr Maystadt agreed to continue his special mission to ensure that the system for the adoption of the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) put in place by the European Union is effective and enables the EU to play its full role in the debate” said Commissioner Barnier.
“This is a first step towards increasing audit quality and re-establishing investor confidence in financial information, an essential ingredient for investment and economic growth in Europe”. Statement by Commissioner Barnier.
Commissioner Barnier welcomes trilogue agreement by Council and Parliament on the EU co-financing of EFRAG, IFRS Foundation and PIOB
“This agreement is a very important step towards ensuring that the beneficiary organisations continue to play an important role in the elaboration of accounting and auditing standards and that the EU’s interests are properly taken into account in that process”. Statement by Commissioner Barnier.
Intellectual property and modernisation of the business environment: two drivers of competitiveness in Europe.
"Europe is, and must remain, a breeding ground for creativity, research and innovation". Speech by Commissioner Barnier to the European Parliament Legal Affairs Committee.
The financial crisis raised the awareness of numerous economic stakeholders and political decision-makers on the potential impact of accounting standards on the results made public by companies and on the economy as a whole. In March 2013 Commissioner Barnier, mandated Philippe Maystadt, former Belgian Federal Minister, to examine ways of reinforcing the EU’s contribution to International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) and improving the governance of the European bodies involved in developing these standards.
Commissioner Barnier welcomes European Parliament vote on the Accounting and Transparency Directives (including country by country reporting)
Statement by Commissioner Barnier: “I welcome today’s vote by the European Parliament on the new Accounting and Transparency Directives”.
Revision of the Transparency Directive: Commissioner Barnier welcomes the agreement reached by the European Parliament and the Council
“With this agreement, listed companies including small and medium-sized issuers, will no longer be obliged to publish quarterly financial information, which will contribute to less administrative burden”. Statement by Commissioner Barnier.
What is the European Commission doing to fight against organised crime and corruption in the single market?
"Tax evasion, money laundering, corruption, counterfeiting, piracy, all threaten the integrity of the single market and the confidence of our citizens". Speech by Commissioner Barnier at the European Parliament's special commission on Organised Crime, Corruption and Money Laundering.
“Today, I want to focus on the EU proposal on non-financial, corporate reporting, published in April this year. I also want to draw your attention to the newly agreed European reporting rules for extractive industries and banks”. Speech by Commissioner Barnier at the Global conference on sustainability and reporting (GRI) in Amsterdam.
The European Commission has today proposed an amendment to existing accounting legislation in order to improve the transparency of certain large companies on social and environmental matters.
Commissioner Barnier appoints Philippe Maystadt as Special Adviser to enhance EU’s role in promoting high quality accounting standards
Commissioner Barnier has today appointed Philippe Maystadt, former President of the European Investment Bank, as Special Adviser. Capitalising on his expertise in the financial sector, Mr Maystadt’s role as Special Adviser will be to reinforce the EU’s contribution to International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), and to improve the governance of the institutions developing these standards.
The Commission has today adopted two proposals to reinforce the EU’s existing rules on anti-money laundering and fund transfers. The threats associated with money laundering and terrorist financing are constantly evolving, which requires regular updates of the rules.
European company law and corporate governance should make sure that companies are competitive and sustainable. The European Commission has today adopted an Action Plan outlining future initiatives in this area.
The European Commission has taken action to break the glass ceiling that continues to bar female talent from top positions in Europe’s biggest companies. The Commission has proposed legislation with the aim of attaining a 40% objective of the under-represented sex in non-executive board-member positions in publicly listed companies, with the exception of SMEs.
« En 20 ans, le marché unique a beaucoup apporté aux citoyens et aux entreprises d'Europe : au-delà des facilités de paiement ou de virements transfrontaliers liés à l'Euro, des baisses de prix importantes sur les billets d'avion ou la téléphonie mobile, il a permis à de nombreux Européens de voyager, d'étudier ou de travailler dans un autre Etat membre ». Discours du Commissaire Barnier à la conférence sur la proposition de statut de la fondation européenne.
The threats associated with money laundering and terrorist financing are constantly evolving, which requires periodic revision of the legal framework. In light of the recent adoption of revised international standards and of the Commission's own review process, a report on the application of the Third Anti-Money Laundering Directive was adopted by the Commission today. The Report analyses how the different elements of the existing framework have been applied and considers how the framework may need to be changed.
European Foundations will have legal personality and legal capacity in all Member States. This new status will allow them to carry out activities and channel funding within the EU in an easier and less costly way. It will also allow foundations to benefit from more visibility to promote their activity and attract more funding thanks to a European label.
From next year, it will be possible for Member States to radically simplify the way in which micro-entities prepare their accounts. This is the result of yesterday's vote at the European Parliament, which has approved measures to considerably simplify life for more than 5 million of the very smallest companies in Europe.
The European Commission welcomes the appointment of Michel Prada as Chairman of the IFRS Foundation Trustees
The Trustees of the IFRS (International Financial Reporting Standards) Foundation announced today the appointment of Michel Prada as new Chairman of the Trustees. Michel Prada is the former Chairman of the Autorité des Marchés Financiers (AMF), the French markets and securities regulator.
Restoring confidence in financial statements: the European Commission aims at a higher quality, dynamic and open audit market
The 2008 financial crisis highlighted considerable shortcomings in the European audit system. The proposals adopted today by the European Commission address the current weaknesses in the EU audit market, by eliminating conflicts of interest, ensuring independence and robust supervision and by facilitating more diversity in what is an overly concentrated market, especially at the top-end.
The European Commission has presented a package of measures to support entrepreneurship and responsible business. First, the Social Business Initiative will help companies that address social objectives as their corporate aim to fulfil their unexploited potential. This initiative is complemented by a new strategy for corporate social responsibility. The Commission has also proposed to revise the 'Accounting' directives and the 'Transparency' directive. This will improve transparency and promote sustainable business among multinationals - in particular those in the forest and mining industries - and will simplify accounting rules for SMEs, allowing them to save up to €1.7 billion per year.
The independence of auditors, opening and deepening the European audit market as well as beefing up supervision are the main pillars of the Commission's future proposal on audit policy. Speech by Commissioner Barnier at the European Parliament's plenary session on 12 September.
Speech by Commissioner Barnier at the conference of the Federation of European Accountants (Brussels).
Statement by Commissioner Michel Barnier following the agreement at the Competitiveness Council on micro-entities
"The Competitiveness Council today was dominated by a recurring theme: how to help small businesses (SMEs). There are over 20 million small businesses in Europe which are the strength of our economy. Too often, small businesses do not find what they want in the single market: they only see disadvantages, barriers and administrative burdens rather than a space that provides the opportunity to grow and prosper..."
"My goal is to encourage a more efficient corporate governance that is more long-term oriented. For this, I see three main actions: improving the effectiveness of the boards of directors, encouraging shareholders to become more long-term involved with businesses and strengthen the European corporate governance framework". Speech by Commissioner Barnier at the conference "The future of European company law".
One of the lessons of the financial crisis is that corporate governance, until now usually based on self-regulation, was not as effective as it could have been. The European Commission has launched today a public consultation that addresses the ways in which corporate governance of European companies can be improved. The deadline for submitting contributions is 22 July 2011.
Commissioner Barnier speaks about his plans to reinforce auditors regulations. Interview by Silke Wettach, WirtschaftsWoche.
The financial crisis highlighted failings in the audit system. In this reportage from the conference on financial reporting and auditing organized by the European Commission in February, Commissioner Barnier and other stakeholders express their views on the need to improve the functioning of the European audit market.
Linking business registers across Europe will stimulate cross-border trade and save up to 70 million euro a year
The Commission today adopted a proposal to interconnect business registers within the EU. Company registers provide company information that is essential for consumers and business partners alike, such as information on a company's legal form, its seat, capital and legal representatives.
On 9 and 10 February 2011, the European Commission held a high-level conference on accounting and auditing issues: "Financial Reporting and Auditing – A time for change?".
Commission decision lays the foundation for reinforced international cooperation on the supervision of auditors
The European Commission today adopted the first decision recognising the equivalence of the audit oversight systems in 10 third countries . This decision paves the way for reinforced cooperation between Member States and third countries which have been declared equivalent, so that they can mutually rely on each others' inspections of audit firms.
"I would like to share my sadness at the news of the sudden death of Tommaso Padoa-Schioppa. Everybody knows the key role he played in building the euro.
The European Commission has presented a Report to the European Parliament and the Council on the application of the Regulation on the Statute for a European Company (Societas Europaea or SE). The Statute gives companies operating in more than one Member State the option of establishing themselves as a single company under EU law. Roughly 650 companies have been set up as SEs within the EU. The Statute has helped these companies to do business more easily in Europe, but there are issues that remain unaddressed.
Speech by Commissioner Barnier at the 1st Congress of the Alumni Solvay School.
The European Commission has launched today a broad consultation on the role of statutory audit as well the wider environment within which audits are conducted. In the wake of the financial crisis, we need to ask the question whether the role of auditors can be enhanced to mitigate any new financial risk in the future.
Statement by Commissioner Barnier on the appointment of the new Chairman of the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB)
The Commission welcomes the appointment of Hans Hoogervorst as future Chairman of the IASB.
The European Commission green lights the exchange of audit working papers with Australia and the United States of America (IP/10/1083)
Exchange of audit working papers with Australia and the United States of America – Frequently Asked Questions (MEMO/10/390)
Commissioner Barnier will publish a Green Paper in the autumn on the role of auditors. The objective of this green paper is to initiate a debate on the role and the governance of auditors, as well as the possible changes which could be foreseen in this domain.