Company Law, Modernisation of Company Law and Enhancement of Corporate Governance

Modernisation of Company Law and Enhancement of Corporate Governance

Study "The Promotion of Employee Ownership and Participation" - 28.10.2014

This Study provides an overview of the development of employee financial participation, and in particular of employee share ownership, across the EU-28 and highlights the growth of financial participation of employees over the last decade. The study describes and analyses in depth a range of policy options to be considered at the EU level to reduce the main obstacles to transnational employee financial participation and to encourage it throughout the EU. Overcoming such cross-border barriers is particularly important in view of the potential described in this study for EU companies to implement such schemes and benefit from their impact. The study has been carried out by the Inter-University Centre for European Commission’s DG MARKT following a tender procedure (Contract MARKT/2013/0191F2/ST/OP).

Corporate Governance: European Commission optimizes environment for companies – 09.04.2014

The European Commission has presented today a proposal for the revision of the Shareholder Rights Directive, a Recommendation on corporate governance reporting and a proposal for a Directive on single-member private limited liability companies. The Shareholder Rights Directive will tackle certain corporate governance shortcomings relating to the behaviour of companies and their boards, shareholders (institutional investors and asset managers), intermediaries and proxy advisors (i.e. firms providing services to shareholders, notably voting advice). The Recommendation aims at improving corporate governance reporting by listed companies. Finally, the Directive on single-member companies aims to facilitate the creation of companies with a single shareholder across the EU; it should make it easier for businesses to establish subsidiaries in other Member States as, in most cases, subsidiaries tend to have only one shareholder – a parent company.

Directive on the encouragement of long-term shareholder engagement and Recommendation on the quality of corporate governance reporting (‘comply or explain’)

Directive on single-member private limited liability companies

Conference “Taking Action: Promotion of Employee Share Ownership – Debating concrete policy options” – 30.01.2014

Several EU reports have highlighted the positive impact of employee ownership and participation on the economic results of businesses and on the motivation and retention of employees. Employees are also well placed to engage with their companies against a long-term horizon. For these reasons, employee ownership and participation may well be the key to resolving many of the problems arising from the financial and economic crisis

Action Plan: European company law and corporate governance – 12.12.2012

The Commission Communication “Action Plan: European company law and corporate governance – a modern legal framework for more engaged shareholders and sustainable companies” of 12 December 2012 outlines the initiatives which the Commission intends to take in this area in the coming years in order to modernise and enhance the current framework.

The initiatives, which will be both legislative and non-legislative, follow three main lines:

  • Enhancing transparency between companies and investors
  • Encouraging long-term shareholder engagement
  • Improving the framework for cross-border operation of companies

In addition, the Action Plan also launches a process of codification of most company law directives.

Consultation on the future of European Company Law – 20.02.2012

The Directorate General for the Internal Market and Services launched a broad public online consultation, seeking views from all stakeholders on European Company Law, as part of the reflection exercise launched at the end of 2010. The consultation follows the report of the Reflection Group and the Conference “European Company Law: The way forward” in May 2011. You will find below the consultation document and related information, the feedback statement from the public consultation, contributions from the stakeholders as well as additional information.

Conference on “European Company Law: the way forward” in Brussels on 16-17 May 2011

The Conference brought together practitioners and scholars from a variety of backgrounds to discuss key company law issues, with a view to taking stock of the state of play and reflecting on possible steps to take in the future.

You can see the recordings of the Conference via the links below.
The streaming is compatible with Windows and Internet Explorer only.


  • Commissioner Michel Barnier PDFFran?is
  • Dr. Róbert Répassy PDFFran?is
  • Klaus-Heiner Lehne MEP PDFDeutsch

Panel: "Purpose and tools of European Company Law"

Panel: "Corporate mobility and European Company Law"

Presentation: "European Model Company Act"

Panel: "Services and Company Law"

Panel: "Workers’ Participation"

Panel: "Tax and Company Law"

Panel: "Groups of companies and the current European Company Law framework"


21.05.2003 Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament – Modernising Company Law and Enhancing Corporate Governance in the European Union – A Plan to Move Forward

The Action Plan set out in Commision Communication COM(2003)284 was open to public consultation for three months up until 31.8.2003.

04.11.2002 Final Report of the High Level Group of Company Law Experts on a Modern Regulatory Framework for Company Law in Europe
  • The report and the annexes PDF - 457 KBDeutschEnglishFran?is
  • Press release by the Commission
  • Press release by the Group PDF - 32 KBEnglish
  • The consultative document of the High Level Group of Company Law Experts PDFDeutschEnglishFran?is

Last update: 30.10.2014