The 2001 European Company (SE) Directive established the right for worker representatives to be involved in the company’s governing bodies, identifying it as the distinctive trait of the “European social model”. The article starts by examining the SE’s quantitative and qualitative development, before describing the discussion currently taking place at EU level and, in particular, the position adopted by the European Commission. The data analysis focuses on both “normal” SEs, which are broadly in the minority and not coincidentally concentrated in Germany, and on the phenomenon of the so-called “shelf” SEs, corporate containers that are “ready-to-use” but also ready to abuse the EU Directive on Employee Involvement. The second part of the article deals with the process of evaluation of the SE legislation currently being conducted by the Commission, with a special focus on a critical analysis made by Ernst & Young, which identifies the involvement of workers as the greatest obstacle to a broader diffusion of the SE.
Keywords: Co-determination - Europe - European social model - Employee Involvement - Societas Europeae (SE)