European Economic Interest Group (EEIG)

EEIG is the first type of enterprise which is subject to the European law and which is the basis for the pursuit of economic interests. The purpose of this supranational type of enterprise is to facilitate co-operation in European research projects especially for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

The EEIG differs from other companies first and foremost in its purpose. It is supposed help its members to develop or improve their own fields of activity. Thus, the EEIG can be used to develop certain common activities which would be too expensive for single members. Because of this auxiliary nature the activity of an EEIG has to be connected to the economic activity of its members. Not only SMEs, but basically every company or firm and all institutions governed by public or private law can be a member of an EEIG.

The foundation of an EEIG requires the participation of at least two members from two different EU Member States as well as the performance of an economic activity. The concept of performing an economic activity is construed extensively. Thus private and public institutions can found an EEIG if some activities have an economic character.

Basically, nothing gets in the way of the creation of an EEIG for research purposes. As the Commission and the Member States construe this concept extensively it includes also activities with economic purpose, which are part of many research activities. As the EEIG has full legal capacity, participation in EU research projects as partner or coordinator is possible.

In addition to the conditions of the EEIG formation, the ordnance includes a number of bans in order to cope with the auxiliary function of the EEIG. An EEIG is allowed to employ at max. 500 persons. Moreover an EEIG must not assume either management or control. The members are jointly and fully liable without limitation for the commitments of the association. In order to implement the EEIG flexibly, a starting capital of the association is not necessary. But any kind of deposit is possible for the formation of an EEIG, e.g. by means of funds, fixed assets or industrial assets as well as by means of know-how and technologies.