The European Company Statute in theory became available for use on 8 October 2004. Under the European Company Statute, a European Company can be set up by the creation of a holding company or a joint subsidiary or by the merger of companies located in at least two Member States or by the conversion of an existing company set up under national law.
However, only six of the 28 EU and EEA Member States, namely Belgium, Austria, Denmark, Sweden, Finland and Iceland, have implemented the regulations at national level necessary to allow European Companies to be set up.
The European Company Statute will mean in practice, that companies established in more than one Member State will be able to merge and operate throughout the EU on the basis of a single set of rules and a unified management and reporting system. They will therefore avoid the need to set up a financially costly and administratively time-consuming complex network of subsidiaries governed by different national laws.
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