Chapter 8: Interfirm Networks Across Europe: A Private International Law Perspective
203 multilateral contracts when parties sign the contract at different times. Generally, this occurs by contract of adhesion so that the signatories who sign later have to subscribe to the kind of interdependence defined by the initial signatories. Transnational Contractual Networks in the EU EU private legislation only rarely considers contractual networks.2 This is surprising when we consider the importance of networks for the European economy. One might consider that EU policy should at least encourage the creation of transnational networks, in order to foster the integration of the common market. Contractual networks are transnational, in our view, when they are formed by enterprises located in different countries. Such cooperation by enterprises is a means both to foster competitiveness, and to promote exchanges across the internal frontiers of the EU. Transnational networks are organized on the basis either of international multilateral contracts, or of interdependent international bilateral contracts subject to different legal regimes. Encouraging the creation and development of transnational networks might therefore presuppose that adequate governance devices be adopted. But the truth is that very few substantive rules have been enacted at EU level that aim at facilitating the constitution of transnational networks. When they have, only organizational networks have been considered.3 When it comes to European private international law, reference to contractual networks is almost absent. Neither EU private international law, nor Members States’ national provisions on conflicts of laws, have built any conflict rules in relation to the specific problems arising from contractual networks of firms. The...
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