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Official business registration authorities play a key role in the registration (start-up) of business entities and maintenance of reliable information thereof. Given that business in Europe has become more and more integrated and that previous boundaries have disappeared, the need for international cooperation among authorities responsible for registering business entities has increased considerably.
The first initiative to establish a wider and deeper co-operation among the European business registration authorities was taken by the Register of Enterprises of the Republic of Latvia, which invited to Riga European commerce registers to the 1st Annual Conference, in 1998.
This initiative was followed by the 2nd Annual Conference of the European commerce registers, held in Sweden and hosted by the Swedish Companies and Patents Office, in 1999. The conference, which was attended by delegates from 21 European countries (including representatives of some emerging Central and Eastern European economies), offered a chance to participating Registrars to jointly explore common issues and exchange ideas and expertise.
A number of participants expressed the idea that foundations laid by this conference should be built upon by establishing a more formalised mechanism for co-operation among European registries.
Proposals on the issue, prepared by officials of a number of business registries, have been presented to the 3rd Annual conference of the European commerce registers, held in Cardiff in October 2000, which was participated by 21 countries.
As a result of the said proposals, the organisation for the commerce registers of Europe became the European Commerce Registers’ Forum (ECRF) in Cardiff, in October 2000, when the first ECRF Steering Committee was appointed, comprising representatives from Italy, Norway, Sweden, and United Kingdom.
Main goals of the European Commerce Registers’ Forum, which was born with the purpose to improve the commerce registers’ services to the trade and industry and to the business life in general, are:
simplification of regulatory environment in order to reduce administrative burdens on businesses;
creating an efficient environment for start-up and development of innovative businesses, especially SMEs;
creating an open and transparent environment for business throughout Europe; and
preparing the associated Central & Eastern European counties for their integration into the internal market of the European Union.