Prof. Matthias Casper

The Societas Europaea (SE) – Is This European Legal Form Fit for Multinational Enterprises?

Since 2004 the Societas Europaea (SE) can be found in all member states of the EU. The idea of its founding fathers was to develop a transnational legal form for multinational enterprises. However, only a few member states such as Germany have widely accepted the SE; and also in these countries the SE is often only used by small and medium sized enterprises.

This paper will deal with the question of why only a small number of multinational enterprises have chosen the SE as their legal form and will give some empirical facts about the SE. In addition, it will be shown that the statute of the SE is still dominated by the national law of the member state where the SE has her seat; although this might not necessarily be the main reason why the SE has not developed as expected by its founding fathers. Furthermore, it will be discussed that the law of groups of SE is not regulated by the EU. The paper will conclude with some suggestions on how the situation can be improved – thereby focusing on the various aspects of the foundation of the SE, Corporate Governance and codetermination.