In the general context of Better Regulation, the European Commission has decided to simplify the regulatory environment for European businesses, in co-operation with the European Parliament and the Member States. The objective is to ensure that Community legislation in the fields of company law, accounting and auditing corresponds to today’s business needs and allows European businesses to compete more effectively and to be more successful in a highly competitive global environment.
The initiative is linked to the review of the Single Market adopted by the Commission in November 2007 as part of the citizens’ agenda. Furthermore, it forms part of the Commission initiative aiming at reducing administrative burdens, especially for SMEs.
In order to identify the scope for simplification, the Commission adopted, on 10 July 2007, a communication setting out proposals for possible measures to simplify the EU acquis in the areas of company law, accounting and auditing. The European Parliament, the Member States and the stakeholders were invited to comment on the Communication and the proposals contained therein by mid-October 2007.
In order to achieve first results rapidly, three “fast track” proposals were tabled by the Commission. The first one which aimed at aligning certain rules on expert reports in the case of domestic mergers and divisions with the rules contained in the Cross-border mergers Directive (Directive 2005/56/EC) was approved by the Council and the European Parliament in November 2007 (Directive 2007/63/EC). Furthermore, in April 2008, the Commission tabled two proposals to amend the First and Eleventh Company law Directives and the accounting directives.
In September 2008, the Commission then presented a proposal for further amendments to the directives on mergers and divisions and, in February 2009, a proposal to allow Member States exempting micro entities from the rules of the accounting directives.
The overall reduction potential of the legal proposals that have been tabled by the Commission amounts to approximately 7.3 billion euro.
Simplification of Company law