Published by Thierry Breton

In these times of defiance of the European project, as we’ve recently seen in the elections in Italy and Hungary, heads of businesses must more than ever push for and be committed in favour of a Europe resolutely turned towards the future.

Among the tools available, the statute of European company (SE) offers a real opportunity for businesses to position themselves within a European perspective and identity, while giving them more agility in the European area and increasing employees’ role in companies’ governance.

Introduced in a 2001 directive and adapted in France in 2005, this statute facilitates the activities of companies within the European area and enables greater employee involvement in company governance.

By chosing the SE legal statute, companies show a commitment to and high expectations of Europe, which complements and reinforces national activities, and which allows us to respond better to the numerous economic, social and environmental challenges we face.

However, to date the statute has not experienced the success that was initially hoped for, notably due to the highly restrictive conditions of formation and the absence of tax harmonisation in the European Union.

With the European Union wanting to harmonise company taxation and the European Commission planning to present a company law package in the next few weeks, there is a window of opportunity for improvement. 

This is the reason why, as the Chairman & CEO of Atos SE and Chairman of the Alliance for Societas Europaea (ASEP) and together with many other CEOs of SE in Europe, I am inviting the European Parliament and Council to seize this unique opportunity of debates in the wake of the upcoming company law package’s discussion to make the European company statute more attractive to businesses and allow it achieve its full potential.