The European Company Statute (Regulation 2157/2001, which is directly applicable in EU member states) was adopted on 8 October 2001 and came into force on 8 October 2004. It required the Commission to report on its application five years after coming into force. The Commission published its consultation on 23 March 2010, together with a report by external consultants. The consultation aims to test the findings of the external study with all interested stakeholders. The Commission is also organising a high-level conference on the statute on 26 May 2010.

The external study covers a number of key issues, including:

  • drivers for setting up a European Company (SE)
  • differences between national legislation relating to SEs
  • main trends in the distribution of SEs across Europe
  • practical problems encountered in the course of setting up or running an SE
  • suggestions for amendments to the SE legislation to increase its attractiveness for business.

Among the proposals for amendment made by the external study are:

  • simplification of the process of establishing an SE, including permitting private limited companies to form an SE by merger or conversion
  • reducing the minimum capital requirement for SEs
  • aligning the rules of the SE legislation with other European legislation, including the cross-border mergers directive and the proposals for the establishment of a European private limited company.

The consultation can be found by clicking here. The consultation closes on 23 May 2010.