Michel Tison, Kristof Maresceau

Cross-border business in the EU and statutory disclosure requirements: Using IT as a catalyst for further market integration

WP 2007-08

This paper highlights the gap between the opportunities for EU companies to fully exploit their freedom of establishment on the one hand and the obstacles flowing from the mainly national organisation of information filing requirements through business registers on the other hand. From the point of view of companies, this gap partly neutralises the efforts deployed both in EU regulation and ECJ jurisprudence to guarantee the freedom of establishment. Companies are not only often obliged to file the same information in different countries but, due to the lack of information sharing between the countries in which they are established, investors, creditors and other stakeholders may suffer information asymmetries. We analyse the possible legal approaches towards organising the filing of information in a network model. The design of a technical solution to improve the cross-border sharing of corporate data in order to decrease administrative burdens on the freedom lies at the heart of the BRITE project. BRITE wishes to increase the interoperability of business registers, not only with a view to facilitating the cross-border establishment of companies, but also as a tool for other users (including public authorities) who can benefit from the better dissemination of public company data and the possibility to aggregate data at a European level. We submit that the European lawmakers have not yet fully exploited the possibilities offered by linking national public information systems into networks, although the Transparency Directive does envisage a network approach as regards the dissemination of company and financial information by listed companies.