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The Impact of EU Company Law Professor Mads Andenas.

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Presentation on theme: "The Impact of EU Company Law Professor Mads Andenas."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Impact of EU Company Law Professor Mads Andenas

2 EU law and company law Company law remains highly harmonised national law, with exceptions: European corporate forms such as EEIGs, Ses The directives and their impact The impact of free movement (fundamental freedoms) and other treaty rights, with proportonality review of restrictions The impact of EU law principles and human rights (fundamental rights)

3 The EEC as a market where companies and investment are the driving forces Walter Hallsteins vision Free movement rights to non physical legal persons (companies) The backlashes of the 1960s, re-introduction of capital restrictions The other way around: investments and company law were to follow after free movement of goods and persons, establishment and services 3

4 Is company law and financial market regulation inherently protectionist? Some traditional features of national company law: – Nationality requirements for directors – Limitations on foreign ownership Replicated in financial market regulation where prudential concerns put to protectionist use, see Belgian, Italian and Iberian cases in the last ten years. Compare with energy and telecoms sector cases. 4

5 Free movement and the law of the Internal Market Free movement, restrictions and derogations subject to proportionality 5

6 Survival of open and direct discrimination Limitations of free movement of companies and financial institutions in the 1990s as evidenced by Centros line of cases in the ECJ after Commission initiatives had been effectively stopped, French restrictions on pension and life assurance institution investment to French securities It goes on, post Centros cases, practical obstacles to financial institutions wishing to form SEs (Nordea). 6

7 Winter Report (2002) How company law statute, shareholder agreements and ownership create restrictions to free movement The invention of the brake through rule The resistance 7

8 Role of national law makers and regulators The Take Over Directive as a case: the role of the UK and Sweden One share – one vote Draft directive on free movement of companies SE Statute The DTIs and the Ministries of Finance The role of national parliaments 8

9 Role of EU institutions Commission and Council, ECB The role of the European parliament Lamfalussy bodies, CESR. Notifications under the UCITS directive. Illustrates fundamental problem of retaining nationally based regulation 9

10 Role of doctrine German response to Daily Mail The glosses on Centros H Halbhuber, National Doctrinal Structures and European Company Law, (2001) 38 CMLR 1385

11 Report of the Reflection Group on the Future of European Company Law y/docs/modern/reflectiongroup_report_en.pd f y/docs/modern/reflectiongroup_report_en.pd f

12 08/06/2014 Professor Mads Andenas MA DPhil (Oxford), PhD (Cambridge) 12 Impact of free movement: Caixa Bank an illustration Case C-442/02 Caixa Bank France v Ministre de lEconomie, des Finances et de lIndustrie [2004] ECR I-8961 The French ban on interest on current accounts and subsidiaries of Spanish banks (branches may not have been covered by ban)

13 14 Where credit institutions which are subsidiaries of foreign companies seek to enter the market of a Member State, competing by means of the rate of remuneration paid on sight accounts constitutes one of the most effective methods to that end. Access to the market by those establishments is thus made more difficult by such a prohibition.

14 14 Free movement of companies in the ECJ Daily Mail [1988] ECR 5483 Centros Ltd v. Erhvervs- og Selskabsstyrelsen [1999] ECR I Überseering [2002] ECR I Inspire Art [2005] ECR I Sevic Systems AG [2005] ECR I Cartesio [2008] ECR I-9641.

15 15 Direct discrimination Should the freedoms have any bite Centros Ltd v. Erhvervs- og Selskabsstyrelsen [1999] ECR I Überseering [2002] ECR I Inspire Art [2005] ECR I Sevic Systems AG [2005] ECR I-10805

16 16 Exit restrictions Daily Mail [1988] ECR Cartesio [2008] ECR I Reasoned opinion, a final warning, by the EFTA Surveillance Authority March 2011: Norway is in breach of the EEA Agreement by imposing an immediate tax on companies, or the shareholders of companies, that transfer their seat to another EEA State.

17 17 Golden Shares Cases See for instance: Commission v Italian Republic [2005] ECR suspension of the voting rights attached to shareholdings exceeding 2% of the capital of companies in the electricity and gas sectors. Privatisation process: what control can the state keep? Does not matter whether restrictions are in public law or private law company instruments

18 The use of EU sources in resolving issues of pure internal, domestic law Søksmålsfristen for å få kjent ugyldig et aksjeselskaps beslutning om fisjon også gjelder for søksmål om gyldigheten av beslutning om kapitalforhøyelse, Høyesteretts kjennelse, , HR A, (sak nr. 2010/1564), Rt 2011 p 18. Søksmålsfristen for å få kjent ugyldig et aksjeselskaps beslutning om fisjon også gjelder for søksmål om gyldigheten av beslutning om kapitalforhøyelse Saken gjaldt krav om sikkerhet for fordring mot overdragende selskap i fisjon, Høyesteretts kjennelse , HR A, Rt.2010 p 1532.

19 Use of implementation in other member states, HR a - Rt (26) Internasjonale rettskilder taler til fordel for at det må kreves mer enn den blotte henvisning til at selskapet er under stiftelse. Etter EFs første selskapsdirektiv - rådsdirektiv 68/151/EØF av 9. mars vil den som handler i det uregistrerte selskapets navn, hefte « med mindre annet er avtalt », og siktemålet med direktivet er å verne tredjemanns interesser. Det må også sees hen til at aksjeloven av 1976 var et resultat av nordisk samarbeid. Etter § 12 i den danske aksjelov skal det alltid, ved et uregistrert selskaps navn, tilføyes ordene « under stiftelse ». Dette vil ikke kunne oppfattet som en avtale om fravik fra hovedregelen om personlig ansvar. Men for det tilfellet at passusen « under stiftelse » ansees tilstrekkelig, gjøres det subsidiært gjeldende at ansvarsfraskrivelsen ikke kan få virkning i et tilfelle der selskapet aldri blir registrert.68/151/EØF

20 Consequences for company lawyers The need to master EU law to service clients The threat of EU law: prejudice and fear Recent examples: SE, not practical (Allianz, BP, in Norway, listed companies, Nordeas attempt) Reduce uncertainty Use in take overs In dialogue with authorities


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