This chapter focuses on the harmonisation of insolvency law, a sensitive area closely associated to nation-building processes. In essence, three issues facing the harmonisation of laws in the European Union discussed in this book, i.e. the fact that harmonisation is in crisis, the issues around language and those around scope, all arise in the field of insolvency law. While the harmonisation of insolvency law has clearly been a top priority on the European institutions' agenda in the last decade, it is well known that this endeavour has been slow and has often met resistance from the Member States. This chapter provides an account of the evolution of insolvency law at national and EU level. It discusses significant changes in both the domestic and cross-border regimes over the last two decades and describes what harmonisation methods and strategies are used by the EU in practice. In doing so, this chapter provides a law in action context against which a definition of harmonisation is proposed in the following chapter.
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