The process of refounding European insolvency framework

Federico Pincione


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Europe set challenging targets for its growth and expansion in the new millennium. The “Lisbon strategy” launched in March 2000 focused all efforts on making of the Union the most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based society in the world by 2010. Different strategies were deployed in several areas to ensure success.
This book focuses on the process developed in accordance with the general plan to reform modern European bankruptcy systems at the local and cross-border level. The ultimate goal of these reforms was to bring changes which could become pillars in insolvency law, thus reaching the grand objectives set in Lisbon. This process is defined in the book as a “refoundation”, since the modifications sought were a radpical departure from the path followed for centuries by local European systems.
The master plan of the European Union focused on increasing levels of entrepreneurialism and the number of small- and medium-sized enterprises within its market. The status quo of European bankruptcy systems at the beginning of the new millennium was found to be obsolete and harmful. Major modifications were planned of systems that worked in the exact opposite direction of the Lisbon strategy. Local European insolvency laws at the time heavily punished and stigmatized bankrupts: they labeled them as criminals, excluded them from commerce, preferred liquidations over reorganizations, and imposed numerous harsh penalties.
In order to make swift changes, the Union promoted the adoption of new approaches. It favored the transplant of foreign “debtor-friendly” tools into more punitive local systems, borrowing mainly from the US Bankruptcy Code. The American bankruptcy system was deemed to be the perfect source of inspiration, as it had succeeded in making a similar shift a few decades earlier and supporting an economy that became the most competitive and dynamic in the world.
This study analyzes how this complex and ambitious process has been structured, starting from its origins. It discusses the theories and studies which supported its development and the significant challenges that have caused the failure, described as an “impasse”, which has impeded the Union from making necessary progress. In its conclusions, it suggests improvements which can allow the European Union and its Member States to make progress in the future.
The approach that is followed attempts to see things from a different angle. Several studies have gathered, compared, and analyzed information from all the systems enacted by the Member States and other relevant countries such as the United States. The massive amount of information made available by this method, though, means that although these studies excel at giving a broad, big-picture view, smaller details disappear.
This book follows a different method, which allows it to integrate previous research. It draws a more specific path, using a selection of local and international models from contemporary years and past centuries. The discussion shows specific weaknesses that have damaged European strategies and provides alternatives.
Originele taal-2English
KwalificatieDoctor of Philosophy
Toekennende instantie
  • Rijksuniversiteit Groningen
  • ten Wolde, Mathijs, Supervisor
  • Inzitari, B., Supervisor, Externe Persoon
Datum van toekenning18-nov-2019
Plaats van publicatie[Groningen]
Gedrukte ISBN's9789403421360
Elektronische ISBN's9789403421353
StatusPublished - 2019

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