As of June 2017, the business registers of all EU Member States are now interconnected. The system – called BRIS (Business Registers Interconnection System) – is a joint effort of the EU governments and the European Commission. According to the information provided in the European e-Justice portal, which provides access to the BRIS to individual users as well, you can search for information on companies registered in any EU country, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Norway and the registers can share information on foreign branches and cross-border mergers of companies.
EU Directive (2012/2/17/EU) (the “Directive”) states that, due to the opportunities offered by the internal market, businesses in the EU often expand beyond their own national borders. Cross-border transactions, restructuring and transformation operations (e.g. mergers or de-mergers) involve companies from different Member States. Consequently, there is a legitimate demand for access to information on companies in a cross-border context. The Commission’s communication in 2009 had already identified the need to interconnect commercial and company registers to create a more business friendly legal and fiscal environment, and confirmed that this interconnection should contribute to the competitiveness of European businesses through reducing administrative burdens and increasing legal certainty.
The Directive does not establish a centralized registers database that stores substantive information about companies, and it does not obligate Member States to change their internal register. Member States shall ensure the interconnectivity between their business registers. The system is a European electronic access point for the interconnection of registers, which is capable of distributing information from each of the Member States’ registers to the registers of other Member States.
Hungary and the BRIS
Among the Hungarian types of companies, limited liability companies, companies limited by shares, European companies limited by shares and branch offices of foreign businesses all fall under the scope of the Directive.
A specified set of data is distributed through the BRIS system, among which a limited set of data is accessible free of charge (e.g. company name, type of form, registered seat and registration number). Accessing all further content regarding Hungarian entities is subject to a charge.
Hungary, as with other Member States, must ensure that companies have a unique identification number (EUID) allowing them to be clearly identified in communication across the interconnected system of central, commercial and company registers. The unique identifier shall comprise elements making it possible to identify the Member State of the register, the domestic register of origin and the company number in that register.
The Hungarian Act on Corporate Proceedings has been amended to oblige courts to provide and distribute data on Hungarian companies in accordance with the BRIS Directive.
Thanks to the BRIS, citizens and businesses can now make searches across national company registers through a single European portal.
To search the BRIS, visit the European e-Justice portal.