In April 2017, during its meeting in London, the SE Europe network resolved to change its name to 'Worker Participation Europe network'. The change of name shall better reflect the evolution in the network's composition, interests and research backgrounds that go beyond the narrow focus on European Company (SEs) and workers' representation therein. Apart from the change of name the networks activities and operation remain unchanged.
The SEEurope Network – organized by the European Trade Union Institute – was founded in 2003 to observe the transposition of the SE legislation and its practical impact on businesses and industrial relations. The network involves legal, economic and industrial relations experts from the European Economic Area (EU member states plus Norway, Iceland and Lichtenstein). Over the years the network has produced a broad range of publications, including country reports, case studies and topical reports. From the beginning, the research and monitoring has been conducted with a view to also meeting the needs of practitioners in Europe involved in the founding of an SE.
The project began by observing the transposition of the European legal obligations into national law, a process which had to be completed by the end of October 2004. Since that time the focus has shifted more towards observing companies which have set up or are planning to establish an SE.
WPEurope pursues a twofold aim:
To monitor transposition of the European Company and specific instances of its implementation. The relevant European legislation (SE Statute together with the SE Directive on employee involvement) provides for compulsory worker involvement, including – where applicable – participation at board level. By offering workers the opportunity to influence company decisions, the establishment of an SE thereby opens up a new form of cross-border responsibility for workers and their trade unions.
To develop, for the purposes of future research, the interface between worker involvement in company decision-making and shaping of the future European Social Model.
Further, WPEurope seeks to improve workers' negotiating position by offering information on existing systems of worker involvement in an effort to improve understanding among worker and trade union representatives. Accordingly, WPEurope sees its role as to take part in the process of ongoing political communication on these issues within the ETUC sphere.