On 8 October 2001, the Council of the European Union adopted Council Regulation (EC) 2157/2001 on the Statute for a European Company (SE). On the same day it also adopted Council Directive 2001/86/EC, supplementing the Statute for a European company with regard to the involvement of employees. These texts, which regulate the formation and operation of the European Company (Societas Europaea, SE) and industrial relations within the SE, entered into force three years later, on 8 October 2004, according to the provisions of Article 70 of the Regulation. All 30 Member States of the European Economic Area have now transposed the relevant legislation into national law. Greece adopted the Regulation and the Directive by virtue of Greek Law 3412, dated 2 November 2005, entitled ‘Framework of Regulations for the Formation and Operation of the European Company’ (Gazette, 2005). This chapter will explain the significance of the SE in the Greek context. The Regulation and the Directive came into force in Greece on the publication of the Presidential Decree, aimed at harmonizing Greek legislation with Directive 2001/86/EC, as anticipated by paragraph 5, article 28 of the Greek law of 4 February 2006. However, since this date was perceived as advisory rather than as binding by the executive branch, the Presidential Decree, entitled ‘On the Role of Employees in Societas Europaea’, was issued on 27 April 2006 and published in the Government Gazette issue 92/A of 4 May 2006 (Gazette, 2006). The SE constitutes one step towards the unification of legislation governing public and private limited-liability companies in the EU, facilitating the mergers of companies from different nations, the creation of subsidiaries and establishments in different Member States, the movement of head offices, and particularly the development of activity. At the same time, it constitutes another step towards the homogenisation of employee relations in this type of legal form of enterprises (SEEurope, 2007; ILO, 2004; Nikolopoulos and Voskeritsian, 2004; Ioannou, 2004; Cauchi, 2001; Enriques, 2003: 5).
The European Company Statute The European Company Statute (ECS) is one of the most important pieces of company legislation adopted so far by the European Union. Its aim is to regulate, on a voluntary basis, the internal functions of a business operating in more than two European countries at the same time. This book provides a comprehensive analysis of the history, structure, legal basis and likely impact of the ECS, examining its evolution over some 30 years of development and its chances for integrating diverse models of corporate governance across the European Economic Area. The book explores the implications of the ECS for employee participation at various levels in the European company, with country case studies drawn from Greece, Slovenia and the UK. It also analyses certain legal issues, including taxation and the position of companies located in countries without existing systems of employee board-level participation.