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Business registers at European level

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This section briefly introduces the cooperation of business registers at European level.

Directive 2012/17/EU

Link opens in new windowDirective 2012/17/EU on the interconnection of central, commercial and companies registers from 13 June 2012 requests Member States to harmonise and to interconnect their central, commercial and companies registers, inter alia in order to improve access to business information and making it available for citizens in their own language. According to this directive, the European e-Justice Portal will serve as the European electronic access point for business register information.

The European Business Register (EBR)

Until the transposition of Directive 2012/17/EU, the EBR is the only network of business registers that operates at European level.

What is the EBR?

The EBR started off as an informal technical cooperation between business registers. Over time, it became a network of business registers whose objective is to offer reliable information on companies all over Europe. Citizens, businesses and public authorities may subscribe to the services of EBR via the business register of their own country. Subscribers can search for a company name or a person throughout all the registers which are members of EBR by submitting a single query in their own language. As the result of the search, a specific set of company information becomes available, in the language of the query.

What does the EBR offer?

Currently, the business registers of 17 Member States of the EU and five other European countries or crown dependencies take part in the EBR network. All these countries are parties to an Information Sharing Agreement (ISA) in which the contracting parties undertook to give each other access to information stored in the business registers. The ISA remains the basis for cooperation between the parties.

Based on the ISA, the parties shall give each other non-exclusive access to the data stored in the business registers and deliver the predefined information in a standardised report.  Access is ensured through software provided by the EBR. The minimum service the ISA requires from all parties is to provide for company searches and company profiles. In addition, there is a possibility to deliver standardised reports on person searches, personal appointments and company appointments. Most countries, however, provide for even broader information.

More details can be found at the Link opens in new windowEBR website.

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Last update: 19/02/2014