Saturday, 28 February 2009

The European Private Company (SPE): An Attractive New Legal Form of Doing Business?

That’s the title of a new paper, co-written with Leif Herzog and Erik Rosenhäger .
Abstract: The Draft Regulation on a European Private Company (Societas Privata Europaea, SPE), which was proposed by the EU Commission in June 2008, will soon be adopted by the Council of the European Union. The SPE will be an interesting new legal form for small and medium-sized enterprises, as well as for groups of companies. The proposed SPE law is not without problems; however, generally, it provides a sufficient level of flexibility for private companies.
The full paper is available here.

Thursday, 26 February 2009

UK law blogs

Impressive list by Insite Law – so gradually the UK is catching up with the US (see already here).

Thursday, 19 February 2009

How to address someone in German

A while ago I came across a nice post with the title “Hi I’m Ferdinand”. It told the following story:
A little while ago I was hosting some visitors from a German university. I explained our teaching and our research strategy, I showed them some of our buildings, I told them about some of our achievements (we had just entered the top 300 universities in the world at that time). No doubt they found some of this interesting, sort of, but what really caught their attention was none of that. As we toured the campus we met a professor, and I stopped to introduce him to the visitors. When we walked on, they told me they simply could not believe that this professor had addressed me as ‘Ferdinand’. But they had hardly got over their palpitations caused by that amazing occurrence when we passed the Students Union President, who also cheerfully called over to me, addressing me by my first name. At this point my visitors looked as if they might need medical attention….
I was reflecting on this story a little bit, and, actually, it is even more complicated in German. There is not only the question about first or last names but also the distinction between two types of “you” (the informal “Du” and the formal “Sie”), and the question of whether the use “Du”, “Sie”, first and last name is always mutual or can also be unilateral. I came up with the following matrix where the size of the letters indicates how common a particular way of addressing someone is.

I am not sure whether this sophistication is good or bad. And it would also be interesting to find out whether the German situation is similar to one in other countries where there are two forms of “you” (“tu”/”vous”, “tu”/”lei” etc).

Friday, 6 February 2009

BBC World Service Report (and its link to EU company law)

Available here with very interesting data on perceptions between the populations of 21 countries. It also includes what people think about the European Union: for instance, it was found that the EU is significantly more popular in Germany than in the UK (see below). Is this linked to anything that I have blogged earlier? Well, yes, a difference in perceptions may be a partial explanation why there are differences between the numbers of European Companies (SEs) across the EU (here), and the different attention that the EU Shareholder Rights Directive receives in different languages (here).