Corporate governance: Directive on shareholders' rights formally adopted
European Commission - IP/07/800 12/06/2007
Brussels, 12 June 2007
The European Commission has welcomed the Council's formal adoption of the Directive on the exercise of shareholders' rights, which means that the Directive is now officially part of EU law. This key measure will enable shareholders of listed companies throughout the European Union to exercise their rights and have their say. The formal adoption follows agreement at first reading by the Council and the European Parliament in February 2007. Member States now have two years to implement the Directive in their national laws.
Internal Market and Services Commissioner Charlie McCreevy said: "I congratulate all parties on the swift adoption of this Directive and call upon Member States to ensure equally swift implementation at national level. These new rules will mean that shareholders, no matter where they are located in the EU, can have their say about the way companies are run and can hold management accountable. This is good news for all shareholders, for the integration of EU financial markets and for the economy as a whole."
The Directive introduces minimum standards to ensure that shareholders of companies whose shares are traded on a regulated market have a timely access to the relevant information ahead of the general meeting (GM) and simple means to vote at a distance. It also abolishes share blocking and introduces minimum standards for the rights to ask questions, put items on the GM agenda and table resolutions. The Directive allows Member States to take additional measures to facilitate further the exercise of the rights referred to in the Directive.
The Directive features the following key provisions:
The Commission proposed the Directive in January 2006 (IP/06/10). The Council of Ministers and the European Parliament reached agreement on the content of the future Directive in a single reading in February 2007 (IP/07/193). In May 2007 the Commission also published a consultation paper regarding a possible Commission recommendation on shareholders' rights that could complement the rules of the Directive.
More information on the Directive and the consultation is available at: