European cooperative

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The European Cooperative , also in Latin Societas Cooperativa Europaea ( SCE ), is a company with legal capacity . The possibility of founding the SCE has existed since August 18, 2006.

Legal basis

The SCE is based on European Community law . Relevant is Council Regulation (EC) No. 1435/2003 of July 22, 2003 on the Statute for a European Cooperative Society (SCE). This is a legal act of European secondary law in accordance with Art. 288 TFEU, which is binding in all parts and is directly applicable in the entire territory of the European Community. It does not therefore need to be implemented in the Member States.

To regulate co-determination relationships, the Council issued Council Directive 2003/72 / EC of July 22, 2003 to supplement the Statute of the European Cooperative Society with regard to the involvement of employees. Here there is a need for implementation in the member states, whereby only the objectives of the legal act - but not the measures to achieve them - are binding ( Art. 288 (3) TFEU).

The European Parliament formally filed a complaint against the regulation on October 15, 2003 because it was not heard. On May 2, 2006 the matter was decided and the lawsuit dismissed.

For implementation in Germany, the law on the introduction of the European cooperative society and the amendment of the cooperative law (EGSCE) of August 14, 2006 ( Federal Law Gazette I p. 1911 ) was passed.

Essence and purpose

The SCE has legal personality and the share capital is divided into shares. The seat of an SCE as specified in the statutes must be in a member state of the EU or EEA . The SCE is the counterpart at European level to the national legal forms of cooperatives in the member states. The main purpose of the SCE is to promote member activities and to meet members' needs. An SCE follows the principle of a democratic structure ("one member, one vote").


The company must be preceded or followed by the addition "SCE". If applicable, it bears the addition “with limited liability” or “mbH”.


An SCE can be set up by at least five legal or natural persons who have their place of residence or business in two different member states of the EEA. An existing cooperative can also be converted into an SCE if it has had a branch in a member state of the EEA for at least two years. As a third possibility, there is the establishment by merging several cooperatives from different member countries.

You need start-up capital of at least 30,000 euros. Investing members are permitted, shares are transferable or sellable.

The establishment procedure ends with the entry of the SCE in the cooperative register of the country in which it is located.

European cooperative in practice

In 2015, the meat marketing company Westfleisch converted its legal form into a European cooperative. WeMove , a civil rights organization active throughout Europe, is registered as a European cooperative. In 2018, OurPower, the first European cooperative based in Austria, was founded.


  • Thomas Fischer: The Statute of the European Community . In: Theresia Theurl, Rolf Greve (Hrsg.): Genossenschaftsrecht in Europa (=  Munster writings on cooperation . Volume 52 ). Shaker, Aachen 2001, ISBN 3-8265-9542-4 , p. 167 ( ( memento from September 12, 2014 in the Internet Archive ) [PDF; 525 kB ]).
  • Reiner Schulze (ed.): European cooperative SCE - manual . Nomos, Baden-Baden 2004, ISBN 3-8329-0658-4 .
  • Lutter, Marcus / Bayer, Walter / Schmidt, Jessica: European corporate and capital market law. Basics, status and development along with texts and materials. Section 46 European Cooperative Society (Societas Cooperativa Europaea - SCE), De Gruyter, Berlin 2017, ISBN 978-3-11-045625-7 .
  • Jung, Stefanie / Krebs, Peter / Stiegler, Sascha: Company law in Europe. Manual. § 6 European Cooperative (SCE - Societas Cooperativa Europaea), Nomos, Baden-Baden 2019, ISBN 978-3-8329-7539-5 .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Regulation (EC) No. 1435/2003 of the Council of July 22, 2003 on the Statute for a European Cooperative Society (SCE)
  2. Directive 2003/72 / EC of the Council of July 22, 2003 supplementing the statute for a European cooperative society with regard to the involvement of employees
  3. Official Journal of the European Union of November 29, 2003 ( Case C-436/03: Action brought by the European Parliament against the Council of the European Union, filed on October 15, 2003 )
  4. ^ Judgment of the Court of Justice (Grand Chamber) of May 2, 2006, Case C-436/03
  5. Law on the introduction of the European cooperative society and the amendment of the cooperative law (EGSCE) of August 14, 2006 ( Federal Law Gazette I p. 1911 ) ( online )
  6. ↑ https://www.cmshs- (accessed on August 30, 2018)
  7. (PDF)
  8. We Move - Imprint
  9. OurPower. Retrieved May 14, 2020 .