Can I get registration information about companies in the EU?

One of the consequences of globalization is that every day it is more frequent for companies to cross their borders and enter into negotiations with companies located in foreign countries, making it increasingly necessary to have access to information on companies, both domestic and foreign.

This need for information, which at national level can be obtained through access to information offered by business registers, among others, it is not always possible outside our borders.

For this reason, within the EU, as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway, Directive 2012/17/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 June 2012 amending Council Directive 89/666/EEC and Directives 2005/56/EC and 2009/101/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council as regards the interconnection of central, commercial and company registers was approved.

This Directive established a Business Registers Interconnection System of the Member States -known by its English abbreviation BRIS– based on the e-Justice portal, the European central platform and national business registers, which enables access to certain data and documents from business registers and guarantees communication between registers of different EU Member States for the purpose of coordination in relation to information on the situation regarding parents and branches and also cross-border mergers.

The transposing period of the aforementioned Directive was divided into two: a first transposing period until 7 July 2014, referring to specific aspects of data protection, dates of publication of registrations and information obligations, and a second transposing period of two years from the determination by the Commission of the corresponding technical specifications necessary for interconnection. This second deadline was set at 8 June 2017, the date on which the launch of the BRIS should take place.

In implementation of this Directive, Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2015/884 of 8 June 2015 laying down technical specifications and procedures necessary for the system of interconnection of registers established by Directive 2009/101/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council established the technical specifications and procedures necessary for the interconnection system.

On the other hand, article 17.5 of the Spanish Commercial Code, added by the first final provision of Law 19/2015, of 13 July, on administrative reform measures in the field of Justice Administration and Civil Registry, established the following: “The Commercial Registry shall ensure the interconnection with the European central platform in the manner determined by the rules of the European Union and the regulations implementing them. The exchange of information through the interconnection system will make it easier for interested parties to obtain information on the name and legal form of the company, its registered office, the Member State in which it was registered and its registration number.”.

And finally, through the Instruction of 9 May 2017, of the Directorate General of Registries and Notaries, on the interconnection of commercial registers, the form of action of the Commercial Registers was established within the framework of the BRIS and meant the launch in Spain of this interconnection system.

As reported on the website (, during the first year of launch, “the registrars of Spain have submitted to the central index of the European Mercantile Registry Interconnection System the information of 2,960,203 companies from the mercantile registries existing in our country. In addition, 3,589 queries to commercial registers have been answered and several cross-border mergers have been reported”.

In conclusion, today it is possible, through the e-Justice portal, that any person or company can access from Spain to certain information on companies in the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway, relating to the deed of incorporation and bylaws, administrative body and proxies, share capital, etc.; information that is not in all cases free of charge and that is not currently available for those EU countries that have not yet launched the interconnection system in their country. Not everything was going to be good news, but at least it is something.


September 2018
© 2018 José Luis Vecilla Camazón. All rights reserved

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