The conference series “European Company Law and Corporate Governance Conferences” was launched at a full-day public conference in The Hague on 18 October 2004 during the Dutch EU Presidency. In subsequent years, conferences have been held in several countries during their respective EU Presidency. Information about these conferences, if still available, can be found on various websites. The ECGI has collated documents into a single repository for the first time for the convenience of scholars, practitioners and policy-makers alike. (See EU Presidency conferences Repository)
The synopsis of the main initiatives of the Action Plan may be found at pages 17-18 of the Action Plan are are worth reviewing.• Enhancing transparency – companies need to provide better information about their corporate governance to their investors and society at large. At the same time companies should be allowed to know who their shareholders are and institutional investors should be more transparent about their voting policies so that a more fruitful dialogue on corporate governance matters can take place.
• Engaging shareholders – shareholders should be encouraged to engage more in corporate governance. They should be offered more possibilities to oversee remuneration policy and related party transactions, and shareholder cooperation to this end should be made easier. In addition, a limited number of obligations will need to be imposed on institutional investors, asset managers and proxy advisors to bring about effective engagement.•Supporting companies’ growth and their competitiveness – there is a need to simplify cross-border operations of European businesses, particularly in the case of small and medium-sized companies. (Action Plan: European company law and corporate governance - a modern legal framework for more engaged shareholders and sustainable companies, Brussels, XXX, COM(2012) 740/2 (at pp. 4-5)
More information about the conference may be found here:
|The Conference website|
|The Irish Presidency website|
|Results of survey carried out in advance of the event|
|Video recordings of speaker presentations|
|Slides used on Day 1 of the Conference|
|Slides used on Day 2 of the Conference|
|Listed Companies’ Engagement with Diversity: A Multi-Jurisdictional Study of Annual Report Disclosures by Professor Deirdre Ahern and Professor Blanaid Clarke, School of Law, Trinity College Dublin|
Diversity, board of directors, corporate governance, gender balance, quotas, comply or explain, hard law, soft law, non-executive directors, annual reports, stakeholders, corporate social responsibility, Action Plan on European Company Law and Corporate Governance, non-executive directors, pipeline
The paper is rich and its insights quite valuable. There are a number of interesting and challenging aspects to this paper worth considering. I very briefly note some comments for discusison purposes only. First the report's findings must be read with care within the context of the countries chosen for study--Spain, Norway, Australia, United Kingdom, and Belgium, (pp. 18-30). While well chosen for their range, the absence of Germany and the Netherlands, which tend to be policy and law leaders, might be taken into consideration. Certainly traditionally within the E.U. it has been the contests between German and U.K. approaches that has tended to set the stage for the great corporate policy debates of the last generation. Second, the definition of diversity is most interesting. The focus on gender is understandable but certainly from an American perspective raises a host of red flags, especially where viewpoint diversity might be used as a coiver to create hierarchies of diversity which continue to privilege white and politically privileged perspectives. Not that this study would be the appropriate venue for such an alsysis but that the report itself might well reveal the political premises underlying approaches to diversity that remain powerful but that may privilege particular communities and force others to compete or be socialized in subtle ways. Thus, for example, it may make little difference to an ethnic minority in a state that a board of directors now consists of equally balanced white males and females from the majority race and ethnic group, whose diversity is increased because they might include a variety of somewhat distinct viewpoints. At some level that may suggest little diversity at all, especially where an enterprise has a global reach and global stakeholders. The differences between Australia and the European states is most telling here. Lastly, it might be worth elaborating the importance of the role of institutional investors in the formulation and implementation of diversity policy. It is ironic that having included Norway, whose aggressive policy of using its institutional and market power to affect the governance policies of companies in which its sovereign wealth fund has invested, there is relatively little attention paid to the central role of private power, even private power asserted by public organization, in the formulation and implementation of sound diversity policies well beyond their own borders. (e.g., Backer, Larry Catá, Sovereign Investing and Markets-Based Transnational Legislative Power: The Norwegian Sovereign Wealth Fund in Global Markets (November 18, 2012). Coalition for Peace & Ethics Working Paper No. 11/11. American University International Law Review (forthcoming 2014).