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Why was a directive needed? What are the expected advantages?

Does freedom of establishment provide a right to merge across borders?

Which company law shall apply to the company resulting from the merger?

What is the legal basis for the directive?

Key Facts

Collective Bargaining Coverage 50%
Proportion of Employees in Unions 41%
Principal Level of Collective Bargaining

Industry and company (varies with sector)

Workplace Representation

works council/employee delegates (with employee delegates planned to replace the works council in 2013)

Board-level Representation

yes: state-owned and private companies

Company Board Structure


Sources: see individual country sections; where a range of figures has been quoted, the lower number has been taken

Document Fulton NIR


Some milestones of the European Social Dialogue

European Company (Societas Europaea, SE)

The European Company (SE) has added additional facets on obligatory worker involvement at European level particularly by including – for the first time – participation rights at company board level. As of 8 October 2004 it became possible to establish a European Company (SE). The main purpose of the SE statute (EC 2157/2001) is to enable companies to operate their businesses on a cross-border basis in Europe under the same corporate regime. An important feature of this new company form is that – by means of the associated SE Directive (2001/86/EC) – obligatory negotiations on worker involvement in SEs were introduced which include the question of representation of the workforce at board level.

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