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Digitalization: how will it work in practice?


DIRECTIVE 2019/1151 regarding the use of digital tools intends to make it easier to create and operate companies across borders through the use of online procedures. To this effect the Directive increases the information that Commercial Registers have to provide freely and imposes totally online procedures for the creation of companies and branches and for registration of their changes. However, aware of the risks this implies, it allows Member States to establish controls of identity, capacity and legality, which can include the involvement of notaries, as long as they do not require the physical presence before any national authority.

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    COM (2014) 212.

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    A compelling example of this problem is the cumbersome procedure for obtaining a NIE (foreign resident tax number) in Spain.

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    The proposal closely follows the general idea presented in the Explanatory Memorandum: “Member States would need to ensure that such procedures can be completed online without the need for physical presence of the applicant (or its representative) in front of any authority or other persons or bodies involved in the process.” 2018/0113 (COD) Explanatory Memorandum. 1. CONTEXT OF THE PROPOSAL. Reasons for and objectives of the proposal. Page 10

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    Justin Kosslyn, The Internet Needs More Friction, 16 November 2018 ( last accessed: 30 November 2018).

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    Seen in January 2020 at:

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    “This Directive does not affect the provisions of Directive (EU) 2015/849 of the European Parliament and of the Council (8) addressing risks of money laundering and terrorist financing, in particular the obligations related to carrying out the appropriate customer due diligence measures on a risk-sensitive basis and to identifying and registering the beneficial owner of any newly created entity in the Member State of its incorporation.”

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Correspondence to Segismundo Álvarez Royo-Villanova.

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The author works as a Notary in Madrid, Spain, and also teaches at Universidad Pontificia de Comillas, Madrid, Spain.

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Álvarez Royo-Villanova, S. Digitalization: how will it work in practice?. ERA Forum 21, 221–234 (2020).

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  • Digitalization
  • Companies
  • eIDAS
  • Online