EU bankruptcy laws ‘too strict’

European bankruptcy laws are too strict and need to be reformed – possibly in
line with the UK’s new rules – a senior EU official said yesterday.

Speaking at a conference in London to make the start of Enterprise Week and
the launch of an awards scheme to recognise European entrepreneurship, Heinz
Zourek, the European Commission’s director general of enterprise and industry,
said that the rules are ‘extremely severe in comparison with other parts of the

‘We are very much focusing, in the Commission, on “softening the stick” that
is looming on failure.’

Zourek and his colleagues will present their proposals for bankruptcy reform
in March as part the Commission’s attempts to meet the Lisbon addenda on growth
and job creation.

The Daily Telegraph reports that these are likely to reflect the UK
reforms, introduced in 2002, which cut the bankruptcy term from three years to a
maximum of one.

Another EU bureaucrat was quoted in the paper as saying at the conference
that ‘the commission will find out how we can change the culture so it’s more
acceptable to honestly fail’.

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