The regulation is complemented by the Council Directive supplementing the Statute for a European Company with regard to the involvement of employees (informally "Council Directive on Employee Participation"), adopted 8 October 2001. The directive establishes rules on worker involvement in the management of the SE.
EU member states differ in the degree of worker involvement in corporate management. In Germany, most large corporations are required to allow employees to elect a certain percentage of seats on the supervisory board. Other member states, such as the UK, have no such requirement, and furthermore in these states such practices are largely unknown and considered a threat to the rights of management.
These differing traditions of worker involvement have held back the adoption of the Statute for over a decade. States without worker involvement provisions were afraid that the SE might lead to having such provisions being imposed on their companies; and states with those provisions were afraid they might lead to those provisions being circumvented.
A compromise, contained in the Directive, was worked out as follows: worker involvement provisions in the SE will be decided upon by negotiations between employees and management before the creation of the SE. If agreement cannot be reached, provisions contained in the Directive will apply. The Directive provides for worker involvement in the SE if a minimum percentage of employees from the entities coming together to form the SE enjoyed worker involvement provisions. The Directive permits member states to not implement these default worker involvement provisions in their national law, but then an SE cannot be created in that member state if the provisions in the Directive would apply and negotiations between workers and management are unsuccessful.
Definition of employee participation: it does not mean participation in day-to-day decisions, which are a matter for the management, but participation in the supervision and strategic development of the company.
Employment contracts and pensions are not covered by the Directive. With regard to occupational pension schemes, the SE is covered by the provisions laid down in the proposal for a directive on institutions for occupational schemes, presented by the Commission in October 2000, in particular in connection with the possibility of introducing a single pension scheme for all their employees in the European Union.
Two approaches have been attempted to solve the problems cited above. One approach is to harmonize the company law of the member states. This approach has had some successes, but after thirty years only limited progress has been made. It is difficult to harmonize widely different regulatory systems, especially when they reflect different national attitudes to issues such as worker involvement in the management of the company.
The other approach is to construct a whole new system of EU company law, that co-exists with the individual company laws of the member states. Companies would have the choice of operating either under national regulations or under the EU-wide system. However, this approach has been only somewhat more effective than the harmonization approach: while states are not as concerned about having foreign traditions of corporate governance imposed on their companies, which the harmonization approach could well entail; they also wish to ensure that the EU-wide system would be palatable to the traditions of their national companies, so that they will not be put at a disadvantage compared to the other member states.
The European Company Statute represents a step in this direction, albeit a limited one. While it establishes some common EU rules on the SE, these rules are incomplete, and the holes in the rules are to be filled in using the law of the member state in which the SE is registered. This has been due to the difficulties of agreeing on common European rules on these issues.
In terms of registrations, the Czech Republic is vastly overrepresented, accounting for 79% of all societates Europaeae as of December 2015. 9 of the 50 constituents of the "Euro Stoxx 50 "stock market index of leading "Euro Area companies are as of December 2015 societates Europaeae.
Annual registrations by member state are presented in the following chart:
Registrations of new societates are to be published in the "Official Journal of the European Union. There is no official union-wide register of societates, as they are registered in the nation in which their corporate seats are located. worker-participation.eu does however maintain a database of current and planned registrations. Examples of companies include:
|Name||State in which the
company is seated
|"Airbus Group SE||"France|
|"Axel Springer SE||"Germany|
|"Autopistas de Puerto Rico|
|"Christian Dior SE||"France|
|"Groupe Eurotunnel SE||"France|
|"KWS Saat SE||"Germany|
|"LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE||"France|
|"Porsche Automobil Holding SE||"Germany|
|"Hannover Rück SE||"Germany|
|"HAWE Hydraulik SE||"Germany|
|"ADVA Optical Networking SE||"Germany|
|"SGL Carbon SE||"Germany|
|"Songa Offshore SE||"Cyprus|
|"Schneider Electric SE||"France|