Harmonising Insolvency Law in the EU: New Thoughts on Old Ideas in the Wake of the COVID-19 Pandemic

Emilie Ghio, Gert-Jan Boon, David Ehmke, Jennifer Gant, Line Langkjaer, Eugenio Vaccari

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The COVID-19 crisis, which hit the world with full force in 2020, represents one of the greatest health and economic crises in recent history. The pandemic paralysed the world economy, forcing many countries around the globe to take emergency measures. Countries’ emergency responses to the crisis uncovered a tension between the continuous phenomenon of global economic interdependence and the tendency for nation-state governance during the crisis. Although this dichotomy was quite acute in the European Union (EU) at the onset of the pandemic – reflected overall by Member States’ preferences for national solutions over common multilateral solutions – governments eventually converged towards similar responses to the spread of the virus. These responses to the crisis included partial or total isolation of populations, travel bans, and the temporary closure of non-essential businesses. This so-called phenomenon of ‘copycat coronavirus policies’ was the result of regulatory emulation, which occurred spontaneously, with limited direct impetus from the EU. Our paper investigates whether insolvency and restructuring laws, policies, and measures followed a similar pattern. The study focuses on six selected European countries: Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom (UK). From a methodological perspective, our contribution relies on a case study approach. Building on the findings of this case study, our paper, then, draws more general conclusions on the process of harmonisation across the EU.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)427-459
Number of pages33
JournalInternational Insolvency Review
Issue number3
Early online date15 Sept 2021
Publication statusPublished - 19 Nov 2021


  • insolvency
  • harmonisation
  • Europe
  • restructuring

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