The Belgian legislature has been very active over the past few months, and a number of important pieces of legislation have been passed.
Firstly, a new expedited liquidation procedure (allowing dissolution and liquidation in a single step) has been adopted. In order to use this procedure, however, the company must be able to demonstrate that all debts to third parties have been reimbursed or the amounts necessary to do so have been placed in a special escrow account.
The Court of Justice of the European Union has finally ruled on the valuation of assets acquired by a company free of charge or at a reduced price. In a recent decision, the Court ruled that no derogations are allowed from the general rule that assets should be valued at their acquisition price, as opposed to their real (market) value, even when the acquisition price is clearly less than the fair (market) value. Thus, even if a company acquires an asset free of charge, it is not obliged to book the asset at fair value in its accounts.
To improve the competitiveness of European businesses, the European Commission recently presented a proposal for a directive on the single-member private limited-liability company, commonly referred to as the societas unius personae (SUP). SUPs will have substantially lower establishment and operating costs.
For the first time in nearly 200 years, the legislation on the right of superficies has been amended, which is particularly relevant for the solar panel sector. A right of superficies can be granted on, above or under land (for example, for an existing building with an underground parking garage), and the grantor need not necessarily be the landowner.
A number of new laws have been incorporated "as is" into the new Commercial Code, including provisions on class actions and substantive changes to the act on the provision of pre-contractual information in the context of commercial partnership agreements.
In the wake of the financial crisis, the legislature has banned the marketing of certain financial products, including life assurance policies, to retail clients. The new rules apply to products consisting essentially of derivatives based on virtual currencies, such as Bitcoin, as well as to class 23 insurance products whose return depends on investments in non-standard assets (e.g. works of art and consumer goods such as wine and spirits) by an alternative investment fund or internal fund.
The "parking provisions" of the Brussels Code on Air, Climate and Energy Management have entered into effect. The purpose is to reduce car traffic in Brussels by limiting the number of parking spaces available at office buildings in the Brussels-Capital Region. It should be noted that the new rules do not apply to residential properties, public parking facilities, shopping centres, hotels, etc.