In the second week of December 2022, the European Commission has put forward measures to further develop the EU’s Capital Markets Union (CMU). These measures concern three areas
(a) to make EU clearing services more attractive and resilient, supporting the EU’s open strategic autonomy and preserving financial stability
(b) to harmonise certain corporate insolvency rules across the EU, making them more efficient and helping promote cross-border investment
(c) to alleviate – through a new Listing Act – the administrative burden for companies of all sizes, in particular SMEs, so that they can better access public funding by listing on stock exchanges.
The related documents can be found here: https://finance.ec.europa.eu/publications/capital-markets-union-clearing-insolvency-and-listing-package_en
My focus is on corporate insolvency, having my doubts about the CMU-coat around the insolvency body, see https://bobwessels.nl/blog/2021-11-doc3-capital-markets-union-cmu-insolvency-the-odd-couple/
The European Commission’s proposal in the meaning of (b) is a new Proposal for a Directive on ‘Harmonising certain aspects of insolvency law’. Here is the text https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=CELEX:52022PC0702.
In short, it provides for:
(1) Minimum set of harmonised conditions for exercising avoidance actions.
(2) Strengthening asset traceability through improved access by insolvency practitioners to asset registers, including in a cross-border setting.
(3) Provisions to introduce so called ‘pre-pack’ liquidation procedures.
(4) Provisions on a duty of directors to timely file for insolvency to avoid potential asset value losses for creditors.
(5) Simplified liquidation procedure for insolvent microenterprises.
(6) Requirements for improving the representation of creditors’ interests in the proceedings through creditors’ committees.
(7) Enhanced transparency for creditors on the key features of national insolvency regimes, including on the rules governing insolvency triggers and the ranking of claims.
Readers of my blog will recall that I have worked of matters for harmonising European Union’s member states’ national corporate insolvency laws for some ten years now. A first exploring study is ‘Harmonisation of Insolvency of Insolvency Law in Europe’, written together with the late prof. Ian Fletcher, see also https://bobwessels.nl/blog/2016-01-doc5-to-harmonise-or-not-to-harmonise-insolvency-laws-in-the-eu-is-that-a-question/.
Without hesitation, the most the work with the most impact has been the European Insolvency Law 2017 400-page study on Business rescue in Europe, written together with prof. Stephan Madaus. I said (sort of) goodbye to this project in 2018, see https://bobwessels.nl/blog/2018-12-doc5-eli-project-business-rescue-in-insolvency-law-slowly-closing-the-curtains/. However, ‘goodbye’ does not equal ‘forgotten’ as our study features in the literature used by the staff of the European Commission in its Impact Assessment Report, accompanying the Proposal for a Directive on harmonising certain aspects of insolvency law. See https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=CELEX:52022SC0395. I am looking forward to future discussions on these aspects (and the ones not covered in the Proposal)!