At the time of adoption of the EWC directive it was applicable to companies having operations in the then EU Member States (excluding the UK on the basis of the opt-out clause in the Maastricht Social Protocol): Belgium , Denmark, Germany, France, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxemburg, the Netherlands, Portugal and Spain. In 1995, with the accession of three new Member States – Austria, Sweden and Finland – the scope of the Directive was increased to companies operating also in these countries. In 1997 Directive 97/74/EC of 15 December extended the application of the EWC Directive also to the UK. Finally, in 2004, with the enlargement of the EU by ten new Member States, the EWC Directive became applicable also to undertakings operating in these states: Cyprus , Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovenia, Slovakia.
On 01.01.2007, as a result of the latest round of EU enlargement and the accession of Bulgaria and Romania, the geographical scope of the EWC Directive increased again, as the acquis communautaire was adopted on entry to the EU.
On the 01.07.2013 Croatia became the 28th Member of the EU and the EWC Directive is now applicable there too.
Meanwhile, on 22.06.1995, by means of the Decision of the Joint Committee of the European Economic Area the application of the Directive 94/45 was extended to the three EEA Member States: Iceland , Liechtenstein and Norway.
The EWC Directive currently applies to community-scale undertakings operating in the 30 Member States of the EU and EEA.
Finally, in 2019 when Brexit becomes reality the geographical scope of the Recast Directive on EWCs will shrink as it will no longer apply to the United Kingdom. This is a cause of significant concern for the operating EWCs, workers in the UK and social partners supporting the EWCs.