Towards a European Statute for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises

Pressmeddelande   •   Nov 22, 2006 09:46 CET

The Legal Affairs committee recommended on Tuesday that the European Commission should propose a European Private Company (EPC) statute designed to help Europe's small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to do business across borders.

By approving the report by Klaus-Heiner Lehne (EPP-ED, DE), the Legal Affairs Committee suggests that the Commission should put forward a legislative proposal to establish a European Private Company (EPC) statute, in accordance with detailed recommendations annexed to the text. Whereas the existing European Company (SE) statute is for large limited companies, the EPC statute would make it easier for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with a minimum capital of €10 000, to do business across borders.

The EPC statute would guarantee that European firms can conduct cross-border business without needing to register themselves in each EU Member State. If the EPC statute is approved, a firm using it would need to be registered only in the country where its head office is located. This would cut consultancy and legal costs, since the EPC would need to comply only with a single, EU-wide set of rules, rather than differing national rules in each country. To achieve this aim, MEPs recommend that the EPC statute be based, as far as possible, on EU legislation, and avoid references to national laws and hence additional costs.

MEPs also approved recommendations to ensure that workers' rights are not infringed. If a European SME becomes an EPC, the information and consultation rights enjoyed by the employees should be retained. The approved text also contains provisions on the organisation of the EPC, the liability of the executive directors towards the company and the insolvency procedures.

This report must be adopted in plenary by an absolute majority of MEPs (i.e. at least 367 votes in favour). This is required, under Article 192 of the EC Treaty, when Parliament formally asks the Commission to come forward with a legislative proposal.

Committee on Legal Affairs
Chair: Giuseppe Gargani (EPP-ED, IT)
Procedure: Own-initiative (under art. 39 of RoP)
Plenary: December

Ref.: 20061120IPR00044
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