The European Company (known by its Latin name of "Societas Europaea" or SE) is a company established under Community law. It has its own legal framework and can operate as a single entity throughout the EU.
In 2001, the Union formally adopted the regulation on the Statute for a European Company and the associated directive on employee participation in European Companies.
This legislation entered into force in 2004 after some 30 years of discussion. It allows companies to cut administrative costs and provides them with a legal structure suitable for the common market, avoiding the legal and practical constraints arising from 25 different legal systems.
Under the European Company Statute, an SE can be set up by:
- creation of a holding company;
- creation of a joint subsidiary;
- conversion of an existing company set up under national law.
The SE must have a minimum subscribed capital of 120 000 euros and its registered office, specified in the statutes, must be at the same place as its real head office.
The agreement on the SE is one of the priorities identified by the Financial Services Action Plan (FSAP) and is regarded as vital to the creation of a fully integrated market in financial services.