The European Union (Branch Disclosures) (Interconnection of Business Registers) 2014 were published recently, which give effect to Directive 2012/17/EU on the interconnection of central, commercial and companies registers.

The Directive proposes to link up the company registers of all Member States electronically, thus providing reliable and up-to-date information on a pan-European basis on the status of a company and its foreign branches in Europe.

The Directive will not operate as a central EU database, but rather an interconnection of current national databases (in Ireland's case, the Companies Registration Office). A "European Central Platform" will be established at EU level and Member States must then make the necessary adjustments to connect to this platform. They do not, however, need to change the domestic operation of registers. Instead, communication between registers will occur via the platform.

The next step is for the European Commission to adopt an implementing act by 7 July 2015. Member States will have a further two years to transpose the rest of the provisions and prepare for connecting to the new system.