The aim of an EEIG is to systematize, facilitate and develop the economic activity of its members. The aim of the EEIG is not profit oriented. This mainly benefits small and medium-sized enterprises irrespective of their type of legal entity, as well as freelancers, farmers, associations or corporate entities under public law. The EEIG must have its registered office in one of the Member States of the European Union (incl. EEA). However, it need not necessarily be located in the same place where the EEIG carries on its principal activities.
The purpose of the EEIG is defined the economic activities carried on by its members and it is limited to an ancillary activity which only supports the objects of the enterprise. Due to this ancillary character, the purpose of the EEIG must be closely related to the economic activities of its members. Any profits are deemed to be the profits of its members and, unless otherwise provided, they must be divided equally. The members of the EEIG are jointly and severally liable for the company’s liabilities up to any amount. Since the task of an EEIG is not to direct the activities carried on by its members, it is not permissible to use an EEIG as a group of companies or as a holding company with a relevant financial participation.
For an EEIG, the jointly acting members with the members’ meeting (as the supreme corporate body) and the manager(s) are the required corporate bodies. Otherwise, the internal organisation is governed by the principle of freedom to set forth in contracts what the parties wish.
An EEIG has its own corporate name, but the law does not specify the manner in which the name must be formed. As regards the name, the only provision that is set forth is that the words “Europäische Wirtschaftliche Interessenvereinigung” or the German abbreviation “EWIV” must be included in the name. They can be put either before or after the text.
The formation of an EEIG does not require a founding capital. For financing purposes, all types of contribution such as investments in cash or property as well as know-how or technology are possible.
An EEIG must be made up of at least two members of different States of the European Economic Area. Members can include sole proprietorships, partnerships and companies and freelancers, farmers, associations and corporate entities under public law.
The contract for the formation of the EEIG generally also contains provisions relating to the corporate bodies, the cooperation of the interest grouping, liability, the profit distribution (if any) or the voting rights. However, there is freedom with regard to the contractual provisions governing the internal affairs. Upon application for the EEIG with the Office of Justice, the legally required records or supporting documents must be filed.
Disclosure and bookkeeping requirements
There is no disclosure requirement. The managers are only required to ensure an orderly bookkeeping for the grouping and to draw up the annual accounts.
The Office of Justice must inform the Office for Official Publication of the European Union of the publications of facts legally required to be entered in the commercial register within one month following the publication in the domestic official publication medium.
Statutory basis (German only)