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Community co-legislators struggled for more than thirty years to harmonize company law within the European Union. Their ambitions were scaled back after the failure of each negotiation. This was the case for the European company but also for the European cooperative society. Thus, many references to the laws of the Member States are made. As a result, these European business groupings may be governed by different rules of law.
Nevertheless, despite legal regimes that could be improved with regard to the practical flexibility necessary for business life, the creation of these new European groupings constitutes an essential development for Community law. These are, in fact, an essential instrument in the process of completing the internal market. The first large European group to have decided to opt for the status of European company is the German insurer Allianz. This highly publicized announcement will probably be the starting point for greater enthusiasm for these new European structures.