Boards and Shareholders in European Listed Companies

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On February 17th, ECMI hosted the launch of the volume “Boards and Shareholders in European Listed Companies”, edited by Guido Ferrarini and Massimo Belcredi. David Jackson, Company Secretary at BP, emphasized that a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach must be avoided when advancing initiatives aiming at delivering stronger and more effective corporate governance.

In the wake of the financial crisis, there have been calls for more harmonization across the EU. The Commission responded by adopting two corresponding Green Papers and an Action Plan. A General Legislative Package, merging all major company law directives into a single instrument, is to be published in the coming period. Ugo Bassi argued that the new EU proposals will preserve both ‘hard’ (rule-based, public intervention) and ‘soft’ (principle-based, self-regulation) law at national level, reflecting the diversity in legal systems, business models, ownership structures and so on. The objective is to improve disclosure practices and not intrusively regulating the behaviour of the companies.