PositionRules governing stockholders' preemptive rights

Full steam ahead on Rome II and shareholders' rights, but more caution on intellectual property. That is a rough and ready summary of the German EU Presidency's agenda, which German Justice Minister Brigitte Zypries presented to the European Parliament's Legal Affairs Committee on 30 January.

The so-called Rome II' regulation, which harmonises legal provisions applicable for non-contractual obligations, is one dossier that may be finalised by the end of the German Presidency. For example, in future, a judge will apply Greek law to rule on a road accident in Greece between a French person and a Belgian. "If a conciliation procedure should prove necessary, I am confident that we will find a compromise [ ]. We want Rome II and we want it as quickly as possible," said Zypries.


The directive on shareholders' right to vote is another priority. The proposal, which was put forward by the European Commission on 10 January 2006, would allow all shareholders of listed European companies, wherever they live in the EU, to have timely access to high quality information and to exercise their right to vote without being physically present. Zypries explained that the text was extremely important "because it brings an added value to small shareholders" and called on MEPs to vote for the directive.

On what issues can a political agreement in Council be reached by June 2007? Rome I (a sort of Rome II for contractual obligations), Rome III (which covers the law applying to bi-national divorces) and the directive on mediation in civil and commercial matters (which sets out a common framework to resolve cross-border conflicts rapidly, without going to court). The Justice Ministry has also got the Commission going again on several other issues - the directive on the transfer of the headquarters of...

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