Business representatives are urging the Commission to create a European Private Company (EPC) statute in order to help Europe's small- and medium-sized enterprises to do business across borders.

The EU must provide SMEs with a more efficient vehicle to operate across the internal market, said Eurochambres and EU employers' lobby BusinessEurope at a conference on 15 May. 

Current EU company law is holding SMEs back because it was designed mainly for larger or public companies and is ill-suited to SMEs' needs, said the two organisations. 

Today, creating a European Company requires the participation of national companies from at least two member states and a minimum capital of €120,000. 

But many small companies simply want to operate across a border, without merging with a foreign company, and do not have such large sums of money. They are therefore forced to comply with up to 27 different national company-statutes if they wish to operate in the entire internal market. 

Creating a single 'European Private Company Statute', open to all private companies on a voluntary basis, would simplify the legal framework for SMEs and facilitate their access to cross-border markets, thus boosting economic integration and growth, said the two organisations. 

In February 2007, the Parliament adopted an own-initiative resolution calling on the Commission to come forward with a legislative proposal on a European Private Company Statute but so far the calls have gone unanswered.