EU Restructuring Directive

Author:Mr Tony O'Grady, Patrick Molloy and Julie Murphy-O'Connor

An EU directive aimed at harmonizing Member State restructuring and insolvency laws (the “Directive”) was published in the Official Journal on June 26, 2019 and entered into force on July 16, 2019. Member States are required to adopt and publish compliant laws and regulations by July 17, 2021.

The Directive is a key deliverable under the European Commission's Capital Markets Union Action Plan and is intended to complement the Recast Regulation on Insolvency 848/2015. Its objectives are to contribute to the proper functioning of the internal market and to remove obstacles to the exercise of fundamental freedoms. Many Member States already have restructuring tools and many features of the Directive already form part of domestic insolvency law in Ireland. It is anticipated that it will have its biggest effect in Germany, as Germany is one of the few remaining jurisdictions in the EU that does not provide for a preventative restructuring proceeding.


The three key elements of the Directive are:

common principles on the use of early restructuring frameworks; rules to allow entrepreneurs to benefit from a second chance. Individual debtors will be fully discharged from their debt after three years; and targeted measures for Member States to increase the efficiency of insolvency, restructuring and discharge procedures, intended to reduce the excessive length and costs of procedures in many Member States. Specific Provisions

The Directive provides for a framework with a range of options to ensure:

Debtors will have access to early warning tools, such as accounting and monitoring duties for the debtor or their management as well as reporting duties under loan agreements, which can detect a failing business and encourage restructuring at an early stage. Debtors will benefit from a breathing space of four months (extendable up to 12 months) to facilitate negotiations and a successful restructuring. During this period, directors will be relieved from any duties to file for insolvency proceedings. The length of proceedings will be shortened with court involvement limited to specific cases...

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