THE EU parliament's 2010 proposal to exempt micro businesses with under ?1m (£880,000) turnover from filing accounts at official registries is still being contested, it seems, at EU Council level.

Only when the Council, under Hungarian Presidency since January this year, ratifies the directive by gaining 255 Council votes out of a possible 345, can member state governments start to implement law changes in their own territories.

According to my European sources, there is a sizeable blocking group at the present time headed by France, Italy and Belgium, meaning that the main proponents (Germany and the UK) are well short of their 255 target.

In order to achieve consensus, apparently, a watered down version of the directive (only companies with less than ?500,000 turnover would be exempt from statutory filing), is being discussed at council level but a positive outcome is still awaited.

I'm not surprised at all that Germany is leading the charge for less financial transparency in Europe. For many years, the German authorities penalised GmbH companies that flouted statutory filing law by such paltry sums that very few balance sheets ever existed at official registries.

The Germans seem to be returning to their long held conservative position of "keep companies' financial positions well under wraps" . As for the British Government's position - well, it simply baffles me!

For many decades, the UK prided itself on having one the best companies registries in the world, containing a wealth of financial and other statutory information that helped facilitate trade between buyers and sellers on open credit terms.

Now, UK ministers seem happy to push for a degraded registry unworthy of its name and tradition. And all because they think non-filing of accounts will save micro businesses time and money; thinking that in my opinion is totally flawed.

I take some comfort from knowing that there are politicians in other parts of Europe who seem to be agreeing with me!

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