Joining forces with other businesses can prove an effective strategy for firms wanting to expand beyond their domestic market into other EU countries.
Cooperation can take various forms – production agreements, joint ventures, franchises, technology transfer and joint research projects.
Businesses may also find it saves time and money to use intermediaries in other countries to sell their products for them.
Differences in national rules governing businesses can create complications for businesses looking to cooperate. The EU has responded with various measures to promote cross-border cooperation:
European economic interest groupings (EEIGs)
European economic interest groupings help their members pool resources, activities and skills. They can be formed by:
- companies, firms and other legal entities – public or private – with a registered office in the EU;
- individuals engaged in industrial, commercial, craft or agricultural activities, or providing professional or other services in the EU.
Groupings must have members from at least two different EU countries.
European cooperative societies
European cooperative societies enable members – individuals or corporate entities – to carry out certain activities in common, while preserving their independence.
With a minimum capital requirement of €30 000, they can operate throughout the EU with a single legal identity and structure. They can expand and restructure cross-border operations without having to set up networks of subsidiaries.
Cooperatives from several different countries can merge to form a European cooperative society. A cooperative operating in another EU country from the one in which it is registered can be converted into a European cooperative without first having to be wound up.
To find partners in the EU, businesses can use the European business register, offering easy access to reliable information on companies from all over the EU, based on each country's official register.
Check also the legislation on this topic in: