10 Colum. J. Eur. L. 117 (2003)

Luca Cerioni.P.hD researcher, University of Essex, and business consultant.

In recent decades, companies wishing to expand within the European Community have been finding an ever changing legal environment. The rulings of the EC Court of Justice, as well as EC directives or regulations, have played an important role in shaping this new environment. In particular, the EC Court of Justice’s latest ruling on companies’ freedom of primary establishment, the Überseering ruling,’ is bound to generate more far-reaching effects-on companies’ expansion and movement strategies throughout the EC-than any previous ruling in that area. From the company law viewpoint, however, reasonable doubts may in fact arise as to whether it has offered a definitive answer to an old and controversial issue concerning companies’ freedom of establishment throughout the Community. From the companies’ taxation viewpoint, the ruling may add, depending on the future answers to some questions that it has raised without suggesting their solutions, a new dimension to the “legal competition” between Member States. The issues raised by the ruling with regard to both company law and tax law may require the EC institutions to make some crucial choices of decisive importance for all companies wishing to move within the European Community.