Cross-border Transfer of Registered Office
Abstract: The Court decision in Daily Mail has come as a result of the resolution of the Member States to endorse a plurality of national legal solutions in the field of tax and corporate laws. The free movement provisions must be understood against this background and keeping in mind that no matter which “interface program” is to be used the system as a whole, i.e. the internal market, must be effective and coherent. The term “interface program” is used here as a metaphoric representation for the set of rules enshrined in national tax and corporate legislation that stipulate conditions for the entry and exit of companies. Among the exit conditions, the liquidation or winding-up of companies as a prerequisite for the cross-border transfer is the most radical one. It’s the main pursuit of this study to scrutinize the legality of liquidation in relation to cross-border movement of companies, operation which presupposes a change of the applicable law. Once a company is lawfully established in the State of origin and its transformation into a company governed by a different national corporate law is allowed by the State of destination, the movement represents a matter falling within the scope the Article 49 TFEU. Implicitly any restrictions imposed on the movement will be subject to the Treaty provisions. The present study makes the distinction between the conditions imposed by the State of destination, which concern rules on company transformations under the national laws and the ones imposed by the State of origin on an emigrating company. The first set of conditions falls within the State competence to determine the formal requirements necessary for the acquirement of legal status under the domestic laws, while the second set of conditions can only be applied in order to preserve the protection of rights originating before the transfer. The liquidation belongs to the latter set of conditions and according to the findings of this study, even if it is not generally excluded, the application of such restriction in a specific case would be rarely, if ever, found to be proportionate and its lack of proportionality will render it illegal under the Union law.
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